THE PENNSYLVANIA YANKEE THEATER COMPANY, known to everyone as PYTCo, is the parent organization that owns the Sampson Theatre. PYTCo is dedicated to its restoration.

The theater company itself was founded in 1976 to develop the performing arts in Yates County and provide a means to showcase local talent in theater productions held at least once a year. The PYTCo Mission Statement reads, “to enhance the quality of life in our community by providing theater experiences and education in order to promote participation, appreciation and understanding of the arts.”

PYTCo is a nonprofit organization, with members ranging in age from five to seventy-five. Volunteers are taught the production process, including performance, costume, makeup, set design and building, promotion, ticket sales and house management.

In addition, variety shows, benefit performances (written by volunteers), and non-royalty shows display the fine talents of many community members. Performances have been held at Keuka College, in the auditoriums of the Penn Yan Senior High and Middle Schools, as well as in the Elementary School gymnasium. Various organizations, like the Penn Yan Elks Lodge #1722, the Benton Fire Department and local restaurants such as Sarrasin’s on the Lake and Esperanza Mansion, have lent their facilities for dinner theater performances.

Since PYTCo’s inception, summer productions have usually been royalty-paid musical shows. These create theater opportunities for community members, both young and old, and offer affordable live productions for the general public.

The PYTCo Youth Experience is a summer theater day camp where children experience all aspects of the theater process. The day camp involves over 40 students from the third through eleventh grades and culminates in a summer production.

Contact Grace Knapton at 315-536-8216 if interested in attending or helping with the camp.

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