YMTC at Aquatic Park
In December of 2014, we announced the exciting move to our new rehearsal home in South Aquatic Park Berkeley! After ten years of wandering, we finally had a home that allowed our staff and our volunteers to better fulfill YMTC’s mission of providing exceptional training through the creation of musical theater to our growing community of student artists.
In the spring of 2014, Berkeley-based Sogno Design Group generously donated their services and their inspired vision (shown in the video above) as we began to plan renovations for the buildings. We worked with Architect Kathy Rogers and Contractor Kim Cobb to create a community centric space to serve as an “arts campus” for YMTC students past and present.
We broke ground in August of 2014, and renovations for the first phase of our plans were completed in January of 2015. Shortly thereafter, we took up residence and now conduct our classes, workshops, rehearsals and set building there, at our new park home.
YMTC’s campus has begun to revitalize the southern end of Aquatic Park and offers a creative arts space to students of diverse backgrounds and talents. We are grateful to the many generous donors and sponsors whose support enabled us to complete the first phase of our beautiful campus.
However, there is still more to do. Now that we have moved in and spent a season in our new home, we are clear about our needs there. There are items we have yet to complete, such as finishing the outdoor lighting on our scene shop, and installing loading dock doors.
We will continue to reach out to our community and beyond to ask for support for our Aquatic Park project. If you are interested in supporting YMTC, consider donating to our Capital Campaign. Any amount, no matter how small, will play an integral role in continuing to build Berkeley’s newest artistic hub. Partner with us in this exciting adventure.
“Blue Ribbon Cutting” opened new YMTC campus at Aquatic Park
Dec. 13, 2014
About our new home
Why did you move?
YMTC has been nomadic since our start as a company in 2004 with our rehearsals, auditions, and workshops moving all over the Bay Area. The search for appropriate space for all of our programs requires time and resources that we’d rather put towards creating more dynamic opportunities for our students and audience community.
Aquatic Park offers YMTC staff and our students a permanent home to call our own. We not only have a building to house our programs, but space for building sets and storing production materials as well as office space for our staff!
Can I get there using public transportation?
Yes! Our buildings will be accessible by the 49 bus which drops at Ashby and 7th and the J goes to Hollis and 67th. We will also be looking at creating a carpool system to help students get to the site.
Is Aquatic Park safe?
YMTC’s move to Aquatic Park is part of a multi-year renovation and revival of Aquatic Park. Like many underused urban areas, Aquatic Park in the past has seen a rise in property crime and nuisance activity. However, as the area has continued to be redeveloped and more people are drawn into the area, there has been a decline in these activities.
Starting with the redesign of the Aquatic park playground, through the renovation of the previously abandoned buildings on Bolivar and housing of community based organizations, the City of Berkeley has continued to recreate Aquatic Park as a focus of community and recreational use for West Berkeley.
The City’s overall redesign plans for the south side of the park will continue to bring more visitors into the park, which is already a popular bird watching spot. YMTC’s presence at the southern edge of the park, (along with Waterside Workshops in the middle and Luna Dance at the northern end) creates an exciting arts corridor, that revitalizes the park through increased youth services and programming.
Are you still looking for a permanent performance space?
While our home at Aquatic Park will offer us space for our rehearsals and programming, it will not serve as a performance space for YMTC-sized productions. Therefore we will continue to work towards a permanent performance space. The City of Berkeley is still in negotiation with the owner of The Oaks Theater and we are hopeful that the negotiations will be successful.
In the meantime, we are excited to share our work in different parts of the East Bay as we have when performing at Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts and The Performing Arts Theatre at El Cerrito High School.