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Valley Youth Theatre names Mark Stoddard associate artistic director

Photo of Mark Stoddard at Valley Youth Theatre
Mark Stoddard is taking the reins at Valley Youth Theatre, which is part of a strategic shift to the next chapter of the nonprofit theatre pursuit in central Phoenix. (File Photos/
Mark Stoddard to transition to artistic director at Valley Youth Theatre
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Valley Youth Theatre is naming Mark Stoddard associate artistic director.

Mr. Stoddard brings over 20 years in theatre education experience to VYT, most recently as the theatre director and instructor at Xavier College Preparatory, according to a press release.

Mr. Stoddard received his Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Susquehanna University and received a master’s degree in educational Theater in 2005 from New York University. As a theater educator, Mr. Stoddard has taught and mentored thousands of students at various educational organizations including Xavier College Preparatory, Paradise Valley Community College, Glendale Community College, and Dream City Arts. He will begin at Valley Youth Theatre this August.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a talented artist and help him springboard the future of Valley Youth Theatre,” said Valley Youth Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Bobb Cooper.

Mr. Stoddard’s hiring, officials there say, is part of a planned strategic restructuring of the theatre by the staff and the Board of Directors to ensure the nonprofit’s long-term viability. Mr. Stoddard will begin in August 2023 and will transition to Valley Youth Theatre’s Artistic Director when Mr. Cooper, VYT’s Producing Artistic Director of over 27 years, retires from his position.

Mr. Cooper will transition to an advisory role, focusing on securing a permanent home for Valley Youth Theatre and fostering an endowment to make sure VYT continues to be the impactful organization it has been over the past 34 years.

“I love seeing young people develop their self-confidence, critical thinking skills, imagination, creativity, social empathy, and sense of belonging through theatre,” Mr. Stoddard said. “I am excited to join the amazing Valley Youth Theatre team to create magical moments for young Arizona artists and audiences.”

Established in 1989, Valley Youth Theatre’s mission is to inspire young people to be the best they can be through a variety of performing arts opportunities. Along with their six annual mainstage performances, VYT offers eight-week fall, winter and spring performing arts classes, as well as spring break and summer camps. VYT’s ongoing community programs include Literacy and the Arts, Sponsor-a-Seat and The Nigel Ross Scholarship Fund as well as their annual fundraising event, VYTal Affair, in August.

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