Matilda Manning Kunin, Founder
Matilda Manning Kunin (July 6, 1933-January 9, 2018) started her career as a theatre director at the age of 12 in her backyard. She continued onto Northwestern University and graduated with a BS and MS in Speech and Education. She then moved to New York City where she worked for three years at the New York Telephone Company as one of the female executives in the company. She married Richard Kunin, lived in Minneapolis for a year where she worked for the National Institute for Health, then in 1962 Dr. and Mrs. moved to San Francisco where she began her philanthropic career. She is most proud of her time as President of San Francisco’s Boy’s Chorus, Meals on Wheels, San Francisco Medical Society Auxilary, Little Jim Club of Children’s Hospital and her representation in Washington DC of the Arts in California alongside Henry Fonda. She had two sons, Tony (for whom the theatre is named) was very excited at the idea of Matilda starting a children’s theatre, after his untimely death, Matilda did that very thing. While Matilda was establishing Young Performers Theatre, she was also the head of the drama department at Town School for boys, where she worked for 28 years.
Stephanie Holmes, Executive/Artistic Director
Stephanie Holmes has been working with YPT for 15 years. She began in 2003 as the Theatre In Education teacher and the Development Director. Over the years, Stephanie taught more classes at YPT and redesigned the summer camp programs. Stephanie started directing the main stage productions in 2007 and took on the role of Artistic Director. Stephanie was honored to step in as Executive Director upon the retirement of Founder Matilda Kunin in 2016. Stephanie writes, adapts and directs the plays as well as does the costumes and sets for the main stage repertory productions. Stephanie worked very closely with Mrs. Kunin and is determined to continue YPT's mission as it was originally intended. She is forever grateful for Mrs. Kunin’s friendship, trust and mentorship.
Phillip Laurent, Theatre In Education Program Director
Phillip Laurent is a teaching artist based in San Francisco. He graduated from Kenyon College in 2006, where he studied studio art and political science. Since his very first summer job as a math tutor at age 15, Phillip has honed his passion for developing and sharing knowledge into a lifelong career as an educator. Phillip has worked with students of all ages, teaching filmmaking, photography, writing and theater. He has taught for Flint Hill School Summer Programs in Northern Virginia, the Bridge School in Hillsborough CA, tutored adults in photography and composition in San Francisco, and has been a theater instructor for YPT since 2013. Here, Phillip leads the Theater In Education program, where he brings storytelling and performing arts to classrooms throughout the city. For YPT, Phillip has taught classes in acting, play production, storytelling and sketch comedy. Phillip is thrilled to call YPT his vocational and creative home, and is steadfast in his devotion to the art of teaching... the teaching of the arts!
Jean-Paul (J.P.) is in his third year of teaching at YPT. He currently resides in San Francisco where he primarily works as a singer and music educator. While living in his native Los Angeles he had the pleasure of performing with groups such as The Al McNeal Jubilee Singers, Los Angeles Master Chorale and L.A. Opera Chorus. Since moving up north he has performed with Bay Area companies such as Cinnabar Theater, Moonlet Theater, theTRIBE Productions and 42 Street Moon. He also sings countertenor with musical ensembles such as Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Chorus, Pacific Collegium, Berkeley Symphony Chorus, Pacific Mozart Ensemble, Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys and the Cathedral of Christ the Light. He currently is the resident music teacher at St. James Catholic School and music directs for schools through the city.
JP values exposing the kids in his class to musical theater that spans multiple styles and decades and emphasizes music and movement in his shows.
Jean Paul Jones
Bri Reyes, Instructor
Bri Reyes is a director, playwright, actor and vocalist based in Oakland, CA. She graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and Performance and Creative Writing. She was a member of the prestigious Saint Mary’s College Chamber Choir and Glee Club and performed with the choir at Carnegie Hall. Her shorter plays have been performed on stages throughout the country. She has had the opportunity to present and attend numerous conferences throughout the country that dealt with empowering communities to create and transform their own stories through theatre. She enjoys working with learners of all ages and is especially excited to facilitate student’s creation of their own stories and performances of those stories. She expects to graduate from Mills College with her Master of Arts degree in English Literature in May 2018.