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Our Mission

To teach, to reach, and to inspire through the magic of theater.


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Dear Friends, Educators, and Parents,

I love children’s theater. It’s a magical place. Tucked in the audience, I am transported to places I’ve never seen before, meet people I’ve never heard of before, see things I’ve never even imagined…whisked over the rainbow, lost in the Hundred Acre Wood, flown to Never Land, thrown into a mad tea party, renewed in a secret garden, hidden in an attic room with a girl and her diary. Which of these places fails to ring deeply in your imagination?


Works of art are powerful tools. They teach us, reach our conscience and sense of humanity in a deep and lasting way, and inspire us to move forward. Onstage, these magical places and people come to life. And cloaked inside the music, humor, and adventure – we discover ourselves. We learn that there is no place like home or that we must grow up or that we’re free to be you and me, or we dare to hope that, despite everything, people really are good. That’s the powerful nature of art at work.


We learn. We are touched. We are connected by this shared experience, and a common bond is born between audience and actors. Together, we remember our finest qualities: hope, courage, creativity, honesty, tolerance, and on and on and on. All of this is possible from a simple trip to see a play.


At TRYPS, we create magic. We do it expressly to teach, reach, and inspire young audiences – not only about theater, but about life’s values. We tie classroom lessons to life lessons. We love it and hope you will too.

Jill Womack
Founding Executive Artistic Director

What is TRYPS?

Theater Reaching Young People & Schools (TRYPS) is a not-for-profit children's theater in Columbia, MO, and the very first year-round theatre company in the area devoted to children and youth theatre.


We offer programming for children from cradle through college - ages 10 months and up.

Our mission is to teach children about the performing arts, to reach children who would not normally see live theatre, and to inspire children to find their own creative voices.

We are focused on building character through characters. We believe in using theatre as the medium for life-changing experience.

  • Children in our classrooms learn reading and public speaking skills, practice voice and articulations, learn to follow directions and to use their imaginations, build confidence and the foundational skills to move into more challenging programs.

  • Children in our audiences learn life lessons through the characters on stage - Aladdin teaches children to be themselves. Belle teaches them to love reading, to look for adventure, to see people for who they are and not what their exterior seems. Annie teaches them to look for the positive - "the sun will come out tomorrow."

  • Children in our plays learn leadership, confidence, teamwork, work ethic, creative problem-solving, trust, risk, respect, and collaboration.


TRYPS annual calendar includes: 

   • A season of full productions including 2-3 family friendly shows, and one teen production suitable for older audiences.

   • Satellite plays in the Fulton Brick District Playhouse

   • Theater, dance, and music classes for young people 3 years old through 12th grade

   • After-School Arts Enrichment for grades K-5

   • Single day, One-Week, and Two-Week camps for grades K-8


TRYPS also offers an abundance of free outreach programming:

   • Princess characters at the Family Fun Fest and Unbound Book Festival

   • A free theatre workshop at the public library on the first Saturday of each month

   • Free audition workshops

   • Free technical theater internships for grades 6-12

   • Shadow Teacher training for grades 6-12


TRYPS hires professional Teaching Artists, Directors, Choreographers, Costume and Lighting Designers, Stage Managers, Guest Artists from our mid-Missouri region to mentor, teach, and direct our young actors in high-quality family entertainment.


TRYPS offers a partial scholarship to any child who applies for financial assistance to take a class, to appear in a play, or to attend camps. This program ensures accessibility to programs for all our area children.


TRYPS subsidizes school group matinee tickets, lowering the child's ticket from $8 to $4 and offering free teacher tickets. This program ensures accessibility to weekday performances for all our area schools.

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