YPT Presents Marcus Youssef’s The In-Between And Herbie Barnes’ Russell’s World On Demand

This spring, Young People’s Theatre will round out its 56th season with two productions available on demand: The In-Between for teens, by internationally-celebrated playwright Marcus Youssef (produced by Montreal’s Geordie Theatre), and Russell’s World for families – written and directed by YPT Artistic Director Herbie Barnes. Both productions are on sale April 19.

The In-Between is a realistic exploration of the conflicts that arise between friends when the sharing of racist, anti- Muslim memes leads to a high school lockdown. Written by Governor General’s Award-nominated playwright Marcus Youssef (writer of the international hit Jabber, presented at YPT in 2013), The In-Between tackles hard questions with humour, sensitivity and a deft ear for how young people negotiate adult-size problems.

“This play deals with teens exploring love, race and misinformation,” says Herbie Barnes. “In today’s polarizing world, young people are inundated online with negative and hateful messages at every turn. This play reminds them that they are not alone in their struggle.”

The In-Between is available to stream on demand April 25 – May 14.

Written and directed by Artistic Director Herbie Barnes, YPT brings Russell’s World to the stage in a brand new production for on demand viewing. The play was originally presented at YPT during its 40th Anniversary Season (2005.06), in which Herbie played the title role. Russell’s World invites kids to explore their imaginations along with Russell – a lonely child who finds refuge from bullying in the make-believe world they create in their bedroom.

Innovative puppetry brings to life Russell’s imaginary friends “Bear”, “Jacket” and “Book” in this humorous and heartwarming play for the whole family.

As playwright, the story of Russell’s World is close to Herbie’s heart. “We have been hearing that our young ones are struggling to acclimate back into the world and regain social skills after two years of homeschooling and online living,” says Herbie. “As young people re-enter the in-person world, they may again face the bullying and loneliness that our hero faces in this play. Russell’s World helps children understand that creativity and imagination can inspire hope.”

Russell’s World is available to stream on demand May 5 – June 30.

The In-Between

Written by Marcus Youssef Directed by Mike Payette Produced by Geordie Theatre

Featuring Skyler Clark, Qianna MacGilchrist & Sepehr Reybod

On Demand Apr. 25 – May 14 Recommended for Ages 13 & Up

When Lily’s new crush Karim and her best friend Britt collide over racist, anti-Muslim memes, a misunderstanding escalates to a school lockdown. Caught in the middle, Lily finds herself having to navigate splintered friendships and tangled truths. With humour and sensitivity, acclaimed playwright Marcus Youssef weaves the real-life challenges of an increasingly complex world with the story of three teens – all living their own “in-between”.

Dramaturgy by Emma Tibaldo, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal; Set & Costume Design: Diana Uribe; Video Design: Amelia Scott; Lighting Design: Timothy Rodrigues; Sound Design: Rob Denton;

Stage Manager: Kelsey Rae.

Russell’s World

Written & Directed by Herbie Barnes

Featuring Kelisha Daley, Ziska Louis & Mike Petersen

On Demand May 5 – June 30 Recommended for Ages 5 – 10

Russell has moved to the city with their Mom and left their old life behind. Unfortunately for Russell, their new circumstances aren’t quite what they had hoped for. The only escape they have is into their room where their imagination (and belongings!) come to life. Can their friends Bear, Jacket and Book help them figure out how to deal with the problems outside their bedroom as well as those hidden inside?

Set & Costume Design: Anna Treusch; Lighting Design: Shawn Henry; Composer & Sound Design: Cathy Nosaty; Cinematographer and Editor: Joshua Hind; Stage Manager: Kai-Yueh Chen; Apprentice Stage Manager: Sophi Murias.

Both productions include a pre-recorded post-show Q&A with each playwright (approx. 10 minutes). Workshops, Curriculum Connections and Study Guides are also available.

About Young People’s Theatre

Young People’s Theatre is North America’s oldest – and Canada’s largest – professional producer and presenter of theatre for young audiences. Over the past 56 years, YPT has staged many of the most important plays that form the canon of work for youth in our country. YPT continues to develop new work and create partnerships with theatre companies across the country and around the world. The enriched learning experiences of YPT’s Education & Participation Department provide young people with opportunities to develop their whole being. Through Drama School programs, workshops in community shelters and agencies, educational initiatives in Toronto classrooms, and training and apprenticeship opportunities, we place learning at the centre of everything we do. With new online drama-based programming, YPT continues to support the needs of educators, students and families by creating innovative opportunities for online learning. Visit youngpeoplestheatre.org to learn more.