YADA® (Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts)

  • Address

    12745 Ventura Blvd., Studio City

  • Phone


  • Website


  • Photographed by

    Elena Seyfarth

  • Special Section

    All About Kids

YADA® (Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts) has been offering comprehensive theatrical training to youth for 22 years. The group recently opened a second studio location in Studio City (its original location is in the historic Dupree Dance building in Los Angeles). Classes are offered for ages 3 to 17 and are taught by experienced professionals and culminate in musical theatre productions. Private coaching is available in voice, acting and dance, and YADA also offers stagecraft internships.

What makes your school stand out?

“Hands-down the performance quality of YADA shows makes it nationally recognized. No matter their age or ability, all YADA performers walk out on stage in full costume, mics, hair and makeup. With professionally designed sets, lights and sound supporting them, these performances create a theatrical experience that is remembered for a lifetime.”

Tell us about a favorite class at YADA.

“YADA is most famous for our production classes. This is where a child signs up for a particular show to perform in. Their session culminates in a full dress rehearsal and final performances. What we love most about this process is watching the children grow throughout the session. Seeing their confidence grow along with how their characters progress and the joy of their performances is priceless!”

Tell us a recent student success story.

“There was a little boy who came in to audition for his first show at YADA. He was so nervous because he was going to have to ‘sing all by himself.’ After that first day he was cast in our show and was given a solo in his role. Within hours this little boy went from not wanting to sing alone to being so excited because he got to sing alone! He studied with us for a few years and is now starring as Oliver in a professional production of Oliver.”

How do you ensure your teachers and faculty are happy in their work?

“We hire currently working artists and allow them to continue to work on their careers while teaching at YADA. Happy and creatively fulfilled teachers make the most gifted directors. In addition, it is always so fun for the students when they see their teachers on TV, in a movie or live on stage in a show!”

What do students love most about your school?

“There is so much joy in the process at YADA that children literally will come bursting through the doors to start their classes. Having fun while being in a completely safe and nurturing environment has these children wanting to spend all of their free time at YADA!”

What is the #1 way YADA helps children become productive adults?

“Lani Shipman and Kim Harrigan created YADA to encourage children to grow as people as well as performers. YADA instructors are trained and dedicated to providing each student with a sense of emotional maturity and self-confidence, while at the same time giving them a quality theatrical experience.

Not only do YADA students learn techniques in dance, voice and acting, they learn the basic tools for life: respect for self and others, commitment to a goal and the courage to try their best. They learn not only to find love for theatre but also to discover love for themselves.”

How does YADA make our community a better place?

“The arts are extremely important to a healthy and interactive community. The arts bring people together. The arts make us laugh, make us feel and can even help us heal. By teaching children through theatre, music and improv, we are creating joy and expression within the communities we serve. And as these children go back out into their communities, we know they are taking everything they learn at YADA—confidence, self-respect, kindness and teamwork—with them!”

What do you want everyone to know about YADA?

“One of our favorite parts about YADA is that there is a place for every child at our table. Children with disabilities, children who just want to have fun and children who are driven to make the arts their careers will all find support at YADA. The idea is that we are a family and we are a team.”

Tell us about YADA graduates.

“We are so proud of the thousands of YADA graduates, including Kiernan Shipka (Chilling Adventurs of Sabrina, Mad Men), Lilla Crawford (Annie in Annie on Broadway, Little Red in Into the Woods), Lily Collins (Snow White in Mirror Mirror) and Sharone Sayegh (The Band’s Visit and Mamma Mia! on Broadway).”