Young Company


9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday

We are excited this year to move Young Company online! The 2020 YoCo Virtual Summer Program for high school students will be focused on telling stories through monologues from published plays and original works the students create themselves. Esteemed Chicago educator, actor, writer, and singer Robert Cornelius returns as Young Company Director with local director Kaitlyn Crockett returning to assist. The day will be broken into three segments.

MORNING: warm-ups, ensemble building, monologue coaching work with the entire group

EARLY AFTERNOON: playwriting, breakout sessions with group writing prompts, create end of day sharing

LATE AFTERNOON: presentation of ideas and content, group discussion

Guest Artists, including directors, playwrights, and actors will join us throughout the process to help the students create the best work possible. MRT staff will mentor YoCo students on what it takes to put on a play from conception to production. The three weeks culminate in a virtual showcase with students performing their monologues and original plays.

The day spans from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with structured time away for lunch and breaks. See below for registration information, fees, and scholarships. MRT's Young Company is designed for young people entering grades nine through 12. 

In order to participate, students will need access to a laptop or tablet and internet access. If you have trouble procuring those items, please let us know as we can arrange to support technology needs for students.

For further information, email


What is MRT's Young Company? 

MRT's Young Company is a professional theatre training program for high school students interested in all aspects of performing arts and new play development as a career. Nationally recognized playwrights, actors, and directors will work closely with students to develop their own voice in their scripts and learn about performing improv, musical theatre, and modern approaches to acting and auditioning. The final presentation from our summer program will showcase material created by the members of our Young Company with scenes from the works of today’s leading playwrights on the MRT stage. Young Company is designed to prepare students for college theatre programs and careers in the field.

MRT’s Young Company:

  • Gives young people the opportunity to express their ideas, define their unique voice, and build community through theatre creation.
  • Offers fun, fully-immersive opportunities for students to better understand the inner workings of a professional theatre.
  • Builds strong connections between youth and leaders in the American theatre.
  • Brings together a broad range of students with a variety of interests and theatrical experience.


Includes participation in summer and year-round programs - for young people entering grades nine through 12 - class hours 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 13-31, via the internet

SCHOLARSHIPS Available, see below. REGISTRATION ends June 26.

1. ONLINE through our website
2. BY PHONE Call 978-654-4678 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-Th)
3. BY MAIL with a printed registration form

DEPOSIT A non-refundable $100 registration deposit is due at time of registration and full tuition is due by June 26. For questions, please call or email

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES & PAYMENT PLANS Need-based scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Payment plans are also available. To apply, call or email Courtney Sale


Esteemed Chicago educator, actor, writer, and singer Robert Cornelius will once again join the staff of Merrimack Repertory Theatre this summer to direct the MRT Young Company, a professional theatre training program for high school students.

A pillar of the Chicago theatre community for more than 30 years, Cornelius served 11 years as the Arts Education Director at the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater. Like the MRT Young Company, the program he created there combined elements of both performance and writing. Students learned how to access their emotions through first-person stories, slam poetry, and the texts of established playwrights.


After the Summer

Young Company continues to meet during the MRT season, offering a window into the fascinating work of professional theatre artists. Opportunities include:

Rehearsal and Tech Observation: Students watch acting and technical rehearsals of select MRT productions, seeing them unfold all the way to opening night.

Workshop Attendance: Students can sit in on workshops of the brand new plays MRT is developing with nationally-renowned playwrights.

Master Classes and Artist Talks: MRT staff and artists offer classes and discussions, sharing their own expertise and experience.