Junior Players was founded in 1955, and is the oldest non-profit children's theater organization in Dallas. Over its sixty-year existence, Junior Players has striven to meet the changing needs of the community. From 1955 to 1989, Junior Players presented traditional children's theater productions performed entirely by children and teenagers. Junior Players' Discover Theater summer camps and Discover Ourselves after-school workshops focus on children ages 6 to 14 in underserved areas of the community. Junior Players' ‘Discover Shakespeare!’ program combines the best of Dallas high-school acting talent with the professional skills of the Shakespeare Festival staff in a teen production of Shakespeare presented in free performances at Samuell-Grand Park.
Junior Players’ Executive Director, Rosaura Cruz-Webb said, “Junior Players is thrilled to be selected as the Union’s cause for June-September. For us it is about transforming kids lives through free arts enrichment programs but our work would not be possible without the support of community businesses like the Union. They exemplify the collective synergy that makes a difference in our youth. Thank you for helping us to continue to transform the lives of over 7,000 youth in the North Texas area.”
In collaboration with a variety of youth organizations, Junior Players teen and Peace Power programs work with high-risk teens who are challenged to write about their life experiences, create and perform their own productions, and resolve their conflicts through communication in a non-violent manner. Junior Players' Advanced Acting workshops and PUP Fest program offer professional training in acting and playwriting for high school students.
This cause is also near and dear to Union’s heart. “Not only do we share a love for the arts and shared connections with the performing arts community in Dallas through events like Naked Stage story-telling and our Studio worshipping community, but we also share similar values,” said Mike Baughman, Community Curator at Union. Baughman continued by saying, “One of the things we value the most at Union is breaking down boundaries in Dallas. There are few better ways to build community than working together on a performance. Junior Players cuts across neighborhoods, school districts, ethnicity and socio-economic status to bring students together—not only for the love of performing arts, but also to build relationships with each other. This is exactly the kind of work that Union customers are thrilled to support.”