Youth Theater is for 3rd-9th graders in Jackson County. Youth are taught about nearly all aspects of a production, from auditioning, blocking, learning to show emotion on stage, applying stage makeup, and more. No experience is necessary! Youth Theater is a great way for youth to learn basic theater skills before trying high school or Main Stage productions.

Two Youth Theater productions are put on each season: One play in November (with auditions in September), and a musical in March (auditions in January. See below for info on this Season’s productions, and to check out our Frequently Asked Questions!


A Dickens Christmas Carol

November 17, 18, 19, 2017

Youth Theater Play at Jackson’s First Presbyterian Church
This is a traditional but abridged retelling of Dickens’s classic story.
Auditions September 11 and 13, 2017


HONK! Jr.

March 23, 24, 25, 2018

Youth Theater Musical at The Middle School at Parkside’s Kiesel Auditorium

Ugly looks quite a bit different from his darling duckling brothers and sisters. Feeling rather foul about himself, the little fowl finds himself on an adventure of self-discovery, meeting a whole flock of unique characters and finding out that being different is not a bad thing to be. 

Auditions to be held in January 2017


CSJ Youth Theater is open to all Jackson County youth in third through ninth grades.

No experience is necessary! Our mission is to educate youths in theater.

We typically have a play in November and a musical in March. Auditions are usually in mid-September for the play and early January for the musical.

There is no cost to participate in Youth Theater, however, first time participants will be required to purchase a makeup kit (around $20) that can be used in subsequent shows. We conduct a seminar in basic makeup techniques about a week before the show opens. There is usually a t-shirt produced for each show that is available for purchase (about $9) and DVDs of the show are also available (about $11) but these items are strictly optional. Joining Center Stage Jackson is not required, but you are most welcome to do so! Learn more about membership.

No preparation is necessary. For plays, you will be asked to read from the script. For musicals, you will be asked to read from the script and sing a few bars from a well known song (think “Happy Birthday” or “Jingle Bells”). The show will be cast based on these auditions.

No.  You need attend only one audition.

For plays, the director is looking for youth with who are loud enough to be heard at the back of the audience without yelling and who can read with some feeling and/or emotion. For musicals, the above applies, as well as musical pitch, volume and phrasing. Of course, the director is also looking to fill specific roles and young people who “look the part” for a role may have an advantage.

The director will usually work around minor conflicts and it is easier to do this earlier in the rehearsal schedule. The closer we get to the performance dates, the more important it is to not miss rehearsals. If you have a concern, speak with the director at or shortly after auditions.

Plays usually rehearse two days per week from 4:30pm until 6:00pm (either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday).
Musicals will usually rehearse three to four days per week from 4:30pm until 6:00pm.  The director determines which days rehearsals will be held.
Actors with larger roles will be scheduled for most rehearsals. Actors with smaller roles will typically have some days off early in the rehearsal process. As the performance dates approach, every actor will be required to attend every rehearsal. During production week (the week directly before the show opens), rehearsals are held every day from 6:00pm until roughly 9:00pm.

Unfortunately we do not have any programs for children younger than 3rd grade. You may want to try the Jackson School of the Arts!

You can check the Center Stage Jackson website about a month before auditions for dates, times and locations. Auditions for the fall play are usually in mid-September. Auditions for the musical are typically in early January. You can also sign up for email notifications of upcoming auditions.

Cast lists are sent out via email by the end of the weekend following the last audition date. Most  communication to the cast is done via email. If you auditioned but did not receive an email, we may not have been able to read your email address on your audition form! In this case, check the Center Stage Jackson website for cast announcements. 

We are typically limited in the number of youth we can cast in a play by the number of roles available. Usually, this means that some young people who audition will not be cast. Do not be discouraged by this! There are many reasons why good, young actors and actresses don’t get cast. Try again and you will have a better chance of making the cut next time. If you did not make the cast list for the fall play, please consider auditioning for the spring musical, which can accommodate many more actors! Auditions for the spring musical are typically in January.

Musicals typically have a chorus and we try to cast everyone who auditions. Don’t be discouraged if you are “only” cast in the chorus. The chorus is an important part of any musical. Do a good job, “learn the ropes”, impress the director, and you will have an excellent chance at a speaking role next time!

Currently the fall plays are rehearsed and performed at Jackson’s First Presbyterian Church, 743 W. Michigan Avenue in Jackson.  

Spring musicals are performed at the Middle School at Parkside, 2400 4th St, in Jackson. Rehearsals typically start out at Jackson’s First Presbyterian Church before moving the the Middle School at Parkside.

All auditions take place at Jackson’s First Presbyterian Church, 743 W. Michigan Ave. in Jackson.

We do not offer any acting classes. Our philosophy is to learn by doing. The best way to learn about theater is to be in a show!

Though we would love to perform for free, we do have to charge admission in order to cover the costs of putting on a show.

Ticket Prices for Plays
$4 per adult/senior/student
$3 per child age 12 and under  

Ticket Prices for Musicals
$6 per adult/senior/student
$4 per child age 12 and under

Tickets can be purchased at the door only, with cash only (sorry, no credit cards).

Parents of cast members can get a parent pass that will allow them to attend all performances for the cost of one ticket. See your director or producer for details.

Plays are usually performed for one weekend in late November. Performances are held Friday night at 7:00, Saturday night at 7:00 and a Sunday matinee at 2:00.  

Musicals are usually performed for one weekend in late March. Performances are held Friday night at 7:00, Saturday night at 7:00 and a Sunday matinee at 2:00.  

If you are too sick to go to school, we typically don’t want you at rehearsal. Contact the director or stage manager as soon as you can if you know you will miss a rehearsal.

The CSJ Youth Theater typically has allowed videotaping when the Publishing House allows us to do so. Check with the director prior to attempting to videotape.

Contact the chairman of the Youth Theater Committee, Doug Meyers, at (517) 783-1468.