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Developing young people as artists and citizens through outstanding experiential theatre training in a context of civic engagement and community building

The Young Core Company cultivates a professional theatre environment in a culture of fun, inclusion, and supported risk-taking. The YCC welcomes actors, writers, directors, stage managers, and designers.


An ensemble of diverse young people eager to develop craft, connect to others, and push beyond our goals as artists and humans.

The Young Core Company produces exciting quarterly productions. Rehearsals integrate master classes from the ACT Core Company -professional expertise that the YCC can put to immediate practice. Each YCC member is paired with a mentor for additional 1-1 relationship and knowledge building.

There’s open quarterly registration, an easy application, no audition, and all ACT student programs are pay-what-you-choose. We understand this doesn’t alleviate all barriers to access, but we hope it can open some more doors.

The YCC is led by Artistic Associate, Education and Engagement, Shana Bestock.

Shana is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, and non-profit leader born and raised in Seattle,WA. She currently serves as ACT Contemporary Theatre’s Artistic Associate, Education and Engagement. She has directed over 200 productions with youth ensembles and overseen over 120 professional productions, and worked with a wide variety of regional theaters, schools, and community organizations. For 17 years Shana served as Seattle Public Theater’s Artistic and Education Director, a position she founded and an organization she led from community theater to national professional artistic recognition. Shana is the Producing Artistic Director for Penguin Productions, facilitating creative adventures in community arts to fuel the future with a focus on youth development and leadership, gender equity, and social justice. Shana is a Fulbright Specialist; in 2021 she directed in Austria for the global Climate Change Theater Action festival, and in 2018 she worked with TRY Theatre in Croatia. She is a member of the Seattle Rep and ArtsCorps teaching faculty, the ArtEquity cohort of 2016-17 and the Leadership Tomorrow Class of ’21. Her acting and directing career includes work with Seattle Rep, Seattle Shakespeare Company, ACT Theatre, Book-It Repertory, Seattle Children’s Theater, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Chicago’s Court Theater, and educator positions at the University of Washington, Centrum, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle Central Community College, Seattle University, University of Chicago, and regional K-12 and

Join the Company

Applications are closed at this time. To get on our mailing list, and/or for questions about the Young Core Company, please contact YCC Director Shana Bestock.


If a registration is canceled by the family after it has been processed, but at least two weeks before the class begins, we will refund payment minus a $50 processing fee. If registration is canceled less than two weeks before the class starts, we do not offer a refund. However, any payment (minus the registration fee), can be used towards either a future ACT program, tickets for ACT shows through the end of the current season, or given as a donation. ACT reserves the right to cancel a class or limit registration. In this case, any tuition paid will be refunded in full, including the registration fee. We want all students to be satisfied with their experience at ACT. If, after completing the first day of class, you decide that it’s not for you, just let us know before the second class or the second business day, (whichever comes first), and we will refund your payment (minus the registration fee). After the second day of class, no payment adjustments can be made.

See a Show

In a post-apocalyptic world, environmental damage has turned air and light into poison. To appease the gods in keeping with ancestral traditions, regular “sacrifices” are made in the form of young villagers being thrown into a deep crater called the Sunless Scar, from which there is no escape. But instead of certain death, the Scar turns out to contain safety, community, and light in a way that the harsh surface never could. Should the denizens of the pit try to climb out and escape? And what exactly will they be escaping to? Join us for a thrilling speculative fiction adventure that explores how we honor ourselves and our past, and what we’re willing to risk for an uncertain future. 

Don’t miss this world premiere written specifically for the Young Core Company and ACT’s Allen arena stage.

Performances March 8 at 7pm, March 9 at 7pm, and March 10 at 2pm.


Maggie Lee (she/her) is a Seattle playwright who creates imaginative worlds on stage in genres like science fiction, fantasy, and horror, with productions in Seattle, New York, Seoul, Chicago, and San Francisco. In 2022, she was a contributing book writer for The 5th Avenue Theatre’s original musical And So That Happened. Her other plays include Sheathed (2019 Gregory Award Winner for Outstanding New Play), The Flight Before Xmas, A Hand of Talons, The Tumbleweed Zephyr (2016 Gregory Award Nominee for Outstanding New Play), The Clockwork Professor, and The Journey of the Bell. She was a Hedgebrook writer-in-residence (2021), a Jack Straw Artist Support Program residency awardee (2021), and the Resident Playwright at Macha Theatre Works (2020 – 2023). She is currently a Resident Playwright at Seattle Public Theater, a board member of Rain City Projects (an organization supporting PNW playwrights), a contributing writer for The Ugly Radio podcast, and a member of the Dramatists Guild. Her plays are available on New Play Exchange and published by Mneme Press.

Read an interview with Maggie Lee here

Past YCC Productions

For up-to-date info:

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Contact Shana Bestock, Artistic Associate, Education and Engagement at

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All ACT Education & Engagement programs are pay-what-you-choose.

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