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Our Story
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About Us

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Our Story

Since our first production of Willy Wonka, Jr in the summer of 2009, we have provided children an opportunity to participate in youth theater through multiple shows, camps, and school programs. During those years, our productions have grown as has our reach now expanding throughout the West Valley of the San Francisco Bay Area.   
 

Entering our 15th season, West Valley Youth Theater has a new look that better reflects our reach. We remain, however, committed to providing Broadway-level theater training in a nurturing and supportive community for local youth.

Our programs are accessible to children of all backgrounds and ability. Further, our training is holistic, introducing children to all aspects of theater production on and off stage.  

Our Focvs

BROADWAY EXPERIENCE

Our Creative Director spent years on Broadway prior to committing the next two decades working in youth theater. WVYT kids gain unique access to exceptional expertise and professional knowledge.   

ACCEPTING COMMUNITY

We embrace kids from all backgrounds and ability striving to create a community of acceptance that empowers each child to grow and achieve on and off stage. 

HOLISTIC ARTS EDUCATION

We teach kids about all facets of performing arts, not just the performance. In addition to acting, voice, and dance we teach kids about tech, sets, production, and the business of theater. 

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Our Focus

Our Creative Team

Heather Stokes
Artistic Director

Heather has a background in classical voice at UOP conservatory and a Musical Theater Performance Degree from the American Musical & Dramatic Academy. Her professional experience includes the original revival Broadway cast of “Grease” (including several national tours), commercials and television credits. Heather returned to the Bay Area (after 10 years of working in NYC) in 1998 and worked as a resident director for CMT in San Jose for many years. She is a Bay Area native and has worked with a variety of companies, schools, and organizations, including over twenty years of directing youth theater productions. 

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Creative Team

Our Board of Directors

Board of Directors
Seth Northrop, Board President
Managing Director, Fortress Investment Group

Seth is the parent of two high school girls who have been enjoying theater for more than a decade. As a Managing Director at Fortress Investment Group, he applies his background in business, technology, and the law to run the intellectual property analysis group. His group's responsibility is to evaluate the technical and legal components of intellectual property assets, assess monetization and litigation funding opportunities, identify potential IP-based collateralization of growth-stage and enterprise businesses, and develop strategic intellectual property roadmaps for prospective and existing portfolio investments totaling more than $2 Billion.

Prior to his work at Fortress, Seth spent more than a decade as a litigator in a major U.S. law firm. Before that, Seth worked as a systems and software engineer for numerous semiconductor and software companies—including the successful company he co-founded and exited. In doing so, he has worked side-by-side with electrical, mechanical, software, and systems engineers along with business-leaders to bring cutting-edge projects to market in Silicon Valley. 

Harvard Sung, Treasurer
Chief Financial & Operations Officer, The Tech Interactive

Harvard has been the Chief Financial and Operations Officer at the
Tech Interactive for 10 years now.  The Tech is a family-friendly
science and technology center in the heart of downtown San Jose.   He has an MBA in Corporate Finance from Golden Gate University, teaching credential (expired) in single subjects business and P.E. and a B.A. in business economics and coaching minor from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Harvard’s recent board positions have been with CMTSJ (Children’s
Musical Theater San Jose) for 8 years which included 5 years as
finance committee chair.  He served on the City of San Jose’s Downtown Parking Board for 5 years which included 3 years as the vice-chair and was a member of Rotary International’s downtown San Jose downtown chapter for 5 years.

He has over 10 years of volunteer experience in theater arts
responsibilities such as producer, front of house manager,
implementation of online and box office ticketing, finance and
budgeting, and photographer.  Harvard also volunteers as 

the assistant coach for the Hollister High school girls golf team, 

assistant coach for Southside middle schools co-ed golf team and 

administrator / coach for the San Benito Golf Academy.

Kristine Grim, Secretary
Library / AP Coordinator, Leigh High School

Kristine is a native Californian residing in the West Valley area for over 50 years. She has been a part of community theater for the better part of 17 years as a board member, stage manager, production manager, show coordinator, and volunteer parent with a number of local companies.

 

Currently, Kristine works as the Librarian/Resource Manager/AP Coordinator at Leigh High School. When not at school or backstage, she is the Aquatics Director and Head Coach at Los Ranchitos Cabana Club where she has served the community for over 25 years. At home she is supported by her husband, two adult children (alumni of WVYT,) and red fox labrador, Jack.

 

Kristine believes that community activism, relationship building, communication, and supporting diverse voices is fundamental to providing safe places for youth to develop the confidence to find and express their passions.

Benjamin Horwath
Head of Operations at REPROSENT
Truesten Tautolo
 Administrative Supervisor, SLAM Alliance
Cara Schmidt
 Associate Director of Philanthropic Engagement, The Tech Interactive

Currently Cara is the Associate Director of Philanthropic Engagement at the Tech Interactive in downtown San Jose where she works as a nonprofit fundraiser specializing in prospect research and GivingTuesday.  She has a B.A in comparative literature and creative writing from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Cara has been making things up as an improviser since 2010 and performed as a member of Wilmington's City Theatre Company in Delaware and around Philadelphia with groups at Philly Improv Theater, Figment Theater, and several independent projects. She co-produced the F. Harold Comedy Festival at the Walnut Street Theatre, and was co-organizer of TEDxPhoenixville.  In her days as a teen she performed in such productions as Godspell, Cinderella, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Fiddler on the Roof and her all-time favorite musical is Les Miserables.  She can listen to it endlessly and never tire of it.  Cara has also been classically trained in opera and loves the production side of a shows especially set design and props.  Despite what anyone may tell her, she is confident that making a pun is usually the right choice!

Brandon Lewke
Controller, The Tech Interactive

Brandon is the Controller at the Tech Interactive in downtown San Jose and has an AA in Accounting from Foothill College and a B.A. double major in Communication and Geography.  He also is the board treasurer and finance committee chair for San Jose Dance Theater and board treasurer for Dragon Production Theater. Some of his theater performing experience has been as a court attendant in Sleeping beauty, Mr. Pose and Chinese Lion in the Nutcracker Ballet and various parts in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Some of his favorite musicals he loves to watch are Les Mis, Evita and Phantom of the Opera.

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