The Young Victorian Theatre Company originated as the Gilman Summer Theater in July 1971. A group of Gilman School students staged a production of Gilbert & Sullivan's Iolanthe — and thereby launched a beloved, decades-long fixture of Baltimore's arts community.
Over the next few years, the company staged a few musical theatre staples, like Kiss Me Kate and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. But they continued performing the works of G&S, including The Gondoliers, Trial By Jury and The Mikado.
While still sponsored by Gilman School, the company was growing and attracting a higher level of talent. In 1978, Brian S. Goodman became the new General Manager. To reflect the group's growth beyond a high school theatre, the name was changed to the Young Victorian Theatre Company. Our inaugural show that year was a 100th anniversary production of HMS Pinafore.
Young Vic's profile quickly ascended in the 1980s. We were invited to perform at Pier Six Pavilion in 1983 where audiences were treated to a spirited HMS Pinafore. And we hired Edward Polochick of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 1984 as our first Musical Director and Conductor.
Then in 1989, Young Vic began a new era. After 17 years of Gilman School's generous sponsorship, we spun off to become a fully independent nonprofit organization. And the company relocated to a new home in the recently-built Centennial Hall at Bryn Mawr School. Here, Young Vic continued to garner widespread praise from audiences and critics alike.
During this time, Young Vic audiences saw many lesser known, but equally deserving works of Gilbert & Sullivan. While the G&S canon has its "big three" popular shows (Pinafore, Mikado and Pirates), we have always been dedicated to exposing the full range of the duo's work. And audiences began to appreciate these "unknown" gems, such as Ruddigore, Yeomen of the Guard, Princess Ida and The Gondoliers.
In the late 1990s, the company looked ahead to its future and undertook a significant capital campaign for a permanent endowment at the Baltimore Community Foundation. And when we celebrated our 30th anniversary in 2000, Young Vic had a fiscal foundation to continue its long-term run.
By 2006 Young Vic was attracting season sponsors and the quality of the shows continued to improve as new technology and resources enhanced our ability to stage professional-level theatrical productions. But our focus on attracting the best young talent continued, with many gifted vocalists and instrumentalists arriving from local institutions, such as Peabody Institute and Towson University. In addition, our cast and orchestra has included performers from across the country – and even around the globe.
In 2010, Young Vic celebrated our 40th anniversary with a return to its very first production in 1971, Iolanthe. At the end of 2012, the theatre departed Bryn Mawr and we began a highly successful partnership with Roland Park Country School. So in over 40 years, the company occupied three locations all within a half-mile radius!
Today Young Vic is a well-regarded fixture of Baltimore's theatre scene. We are an artistically advanced and financially stable organization and we are active in attracting young people to enjoy the magic of live theatre. Above all, we remain committed to producing the very best of Gilbert & Sullivan in Baltimore for many more years to come.
Young Vic is Baltimore's longest-tenured musical theatre. But ticket sales do not cover our ever-increasing costs. Show your support today!
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The Young Victorian Theatre Company is funded by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.