YES Theater Workshops

  • Open to all 6th-8th Graders

  • Classes held Thursdays 3:30-5:30 at White Hill

  • No Volunteer Hours, No Performances

  • Take one class or take them all

  • $25 a class / $200 for all 9

Students learn about the building blocks of professional theatre, review Western theatre history, learn common theatre jargon, and walk through the jobs in a professional theatrical setting. Seasoned theatre students will learn what it takes to thrive as a professional. This is an in-depth workshop, intended for students at all levels.


AUDITIONING – Melissa Tanner

Students learn what it takes to land the role. Approaching the audition process from the perspective of the casting table, they learn the importance of headshots, monologues, cold readings, dressing for success, and being their best selves. Students learn the ‘secrets’ of what the director is really looking for. This workshop is typically taught as a culminating course for university-level actors preparing to enter the professional world. It has been specifically tailored to middle school students with a special section on the challenges posed by school production auditions. 



YES director and Drake drama teacher Jasper Thelin will lead this improv class, including brain, body and voice warmups, and the Improvisor’s Prime Directive. The focus will be on actual ensemble scene creation.



Students will practice developing a character using both internal and external approaches. Sense memory, vocal impact, and movement exploration techniques will be used for both original and pre-existing characters in utilizing the Magic What If.



Students will learn the basics of physical theater through exercises in weight sharing, contact improv, Suzuki and Viewpoints training. By learning to approach text physically, students will gain new perspectives on character development and develop tools to improve their physical presence and confidence on stage. Work will be done in small groups and with partners.



Students will learn about performing improvisation on a stage, including a grounding in the fundamental “rules” of improvisation; a review of common improv terms and finally, an exploration of improvisation on stage through open and structured scenes.
Student with little or no improv experience will get a good introduction. Students with more experience will have an opportunity to reinforce good habits and deepen their experience of improvisation.


VOICE FOR THEATER – Melissa Tanner

With the support of good posture and breathing vocal clarity and flexibility can be achieved through the effective use of: Articulation, Audibility, Clarity, Tone and Vocal dynamics. These are just a few of the many practices you will learn to become an expert in your craft!


SINGING FOR STAGE – Melissa Tanner


DANCE FOR THEATER – Melissa Tanner


Jasper Thelin
Jasper has directed plays for YES Theater for over twenty years. He has a BA in Theater Arts from UC Santa Cruz. The past two years he played Sir Toby Belch in “Twelfth Night” and Francis Flute/Thisbe in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the Inverness Shakespeare project. He toured with the Traveling Lantern Theater Company, played Hamlet for the Guerrilla Shakespeare Company and played Josh in Stapleton Theater’s “Big: The Musical.” A founding member of The Original Action Pack improv comedy troupe, he has also taught drama at Wavy Gravy’s camp Winnarainbow for the past 27 years, and is currently in his 19th year teaching beginning drama and art in Drake High School’s Revolution Of Core Knowledge program.

Melissa Tanner
Melissa has over 20 years of experience in performing arts. In the last 10 years she has focused and honed her talents as a Director of Performing Arts for youths ages 18months to 18years. She feels lucky to say that for the last five of those ten years she has been able to teach here in Marin, where she grew up.She has spent most of her life working with children in many different settings. She has worked as a camp counselor, a nanny, a performing arts teacher on tour and is a willing mentor to all of the kids in her life. She is thrilled to be back in the bay area after a three year stay in London, England where she studied at The American Musical Theatre Academy. Whilst in England she performed with Progress Theatre Company as Curly’s Wife in Of Mice And Men. Before moving to England Melissa toured the UK and Mid West with The Young Americans. They provide a musical outreach program for children ages 6-19 years, consisting of classes in Singing, Acting and Dance. She was also a part of the award winning A Capella group Til Dawn. Before coming back to Marin, Melissa studied Acting and Musical Theatre at The American Musical And Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles, CA.

She believes that: “Children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.

Show them all the beauty they possess inside.”- Whitney Houston

Ben Baker

Ben is a Performance Artist and Educator. He has an MA in Drama from San Francisco State University and an MFA in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University. He is the founder of Dynamism Dance-Theatre, a performance troupe brought together to explore themes and images related to the alchemical work of skillfully combining opposing ideas, forces, and systems. 

His work as a Contemplative Artist brings together Mindfulness-Awareness practices with Theatre and Dance technique. Ben's workshops provide participants with an introduction to Somatic Training- a chance to feel deeply into the body, honing one's sense of proprioception, leading to the feeling of true embodiment and presence of self.