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Our Mission

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


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
Executive Artistic Director

What is TRYPS?

TRYPS is a not-for-profit children's theater in Columbia, MO. 2021 celebrates our 21st Anniversary!

Theater Reaching Young People & Schools (TRYPS) was the very first year-round theatre company 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.


TRYPS annual calendar includes: 

   • Three full productions each year in our Family Series

   • One young adult production - TRYPS Edge

   • Two satellite plays in the Fulton Brick District Playhouse

   • Creative drama classes for ages 3-5

   • Mini musical classes for grades K-7

   • After-School Enrichment for grades K-5

   • All-day theatre workshops for grades K-5

   • Week-long theatre camps for grades K-7

   • Three sessions in the dance/vocal studio for ages 3-grade 12

   • Inclusive theatre classes for our friends on the Spectrum ages 6-12

   • Improvisation classes for grades 7-12


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

   • An original skit promoting fire safety that tours in elementary schools during National Fire Safety 

     & Prevention Week

   • Free audition workshops

   • Free technical theater internships for grades 8-12

   • Princess character visits to the children's hospital

   • Shadow Teacher training for grades 8-12


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


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 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 $7 to $3 and offering free teacher tickets. This program ensures accessibility to weekday performances for all our area schools.