Halifax Theatre for Young People (HTYP) was founded in 2009 by Tessa Mendel and Chris Heide as a means to fill the local gap in professional theatre created specifically for young audiences. Since 2009, Halifax Theatre for Young People has had the opportunity to create, share and produce numerous theatre productions, and meaningfully engage young audiences across Nova Scotia.

Halifax Theatre for Young People occupies a unique place within the theatre ecology of both our local community and our region as the only full-time Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Company in Halifax Regional Municipality.
HTYP is a non-profit society with a Board of Directors and an Artistic Director, Tessa Mendel.

Halifax Theatre for Young People lives and creates in Mi’kma’ki – the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations. Halifax Theatre for Young People is honoured to work and create in Mi’kma’ki and work to uphold and abide by the treaties, and we encourage others to do the same. We are all Treaty People. To learn more about Treaty Education please visit: https://native-land.ca/

Mandate & Vision

Halifax Theatre for Young People (HTYP)’s mandate is to create meaningful, engaging theatre experiences that stimulate the imaginations, hearts and minds of young people and their families.
HTYP honours the imaginations of audiences of all ages and endeavours to ignite the unlimited capacity of youth for empathy and an understanding of diverse human experience. We encourage critical thinking through the development of educational materials and workshops that explore each production’s more complex and challenging themes. Our dynamic productions and strong focus on working with playwrights to develop relevant and stimulating plays for young audiences help inspire a life-long love of theatre and the shared experience of artistic expression.

Halifax Theatre For Young People aspires to the following values:
Artistic Excellence: Creation of high-quality work that is engaging, original and honours the imaginations of young people.
Relevance: Production of authentic work that speaks with honesty to the lives and experiences of our intended audience.
Empathy: Material that empowers youths’ ability to understand the experiences and emotions of others.
Critical Thinking: Thought-provoking material that stimulates critical examination of one’s self and one’s world.
Community: Engagement of diverse communities and the creation of work that is relevant to their lives.

Meet The Team

Artistic Director – Tessa Mendel

Tessa Mendel has directed at theatres and universities in Nova Scotia, Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, including God’s Middle Name, The Monster Under the Bed, In This World and The Gravesavers for Halifax Theatre for Young People, Gut Lovely Sounds of Destruction for NotaBle Acts, Bitter Rose, at the Sarasvrati Festival, Winnipeg, which was filmed for BRAVO TV’s Singular Series, and the premiere of Bone Cage for Forerunner’s and Ship’s Company, Nova Scotia.  Other directing credits include Upstart Theatre, Halifax; The Grand Theatre, London, Ontario; The Theatre Centre, Toronto; Acadia; Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and Dalhousie Theatre Department.  Tessa has worked as a community-based theatre facilitator in many contexts, both locally and internationally (Jamaica, Ethiopia) and was the founding director of a company that created plays with, by and for youth in Toronto’s public housing communities. Tessa was the founding director of the Women’s Theatre and Creativity Centre in Halifax and is the Artistic Director of Halifax Theatre for Young People. Tessa received Creative Nova Scotia’s Established Artist Award in 2014 and her book, Using the Creative Arts for Transformational Learning, was published in 2015.

Administrator – Riley Reign 

Riley Reign is excited to be joining Halifax Theatre for Young People as their Administrator. Riley is an arts practitioner with their Masters in Musical Theatre Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Since graduating Riley spent several years living and working in the UK developing their many artistic crafts. Riley Reign has a passion for Theatre in Education and even developed a musical workshop. In this role, Riley is excited to be continuing their work in theatre for young audiences and educational theatre. As a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and a neurodivergent and disabled person, Reign hopes to connect with, amplify and support these communities through this role.

Administrator – Kiana Josette

Kiana is ecstatic to be joining the HTYP team. Kiana is very passionate about the importance of art being present and accessible in communities around Nova Scotia. Growing up in the Annapolis Valley, Kiana Josette discovered a passion for the arts at a very young age, it was second nature in her family. Blessed with parents who encouraged anyone to chase a dream, she began journeying into the world of acting with her family supporting her in any way possible. Now 23 years old and based in Halifax, Kiana continues to love and explore her passions through theatre, film, and music.

Halifax Theatre for Young People
stands in solidarity against anti-Black and
anti-Indigenous racism and systemic oppression.