The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2012, March 24-25

Youth Performance Company

Paired with Full Court Wordpress

Youth Performance Company (YPC) is a world class, Ivey Award honored youth theater developing and empowering young actors, singers and dancers to reach their artistic potential and become community leaders. Young artists participate in all aspects of creating cutting edge performances, including writing, directing, building sets and designing costumes. Many of YPC's artists have gone on to professional careers in the arts or have used their experiences to become leaders in our community.

Artistic Director Jacie Knight founded Youth Performance Company in 1989 with a firm belief that young people are capable of artistic excellence. She had a vision that teens and young adults could have a voice in the creative process, become empowered as leaders, and produce theatre with the highest standards of artistic excellence. Now in its 23nd season, YPC continues to keep young artists center stage while holding professional artistic quality as a measure of success.

What new functionality we are looking for

Our website looks great, but is not practical or functional.

Our website was built in joomla - and no one understands joomla. We have a web-savvy staff, and volunteers with some experience - and no one can really figure it out. We spend hours trying to make simple changes without destroying the layouts.

Images were used in the design - so we usually do not appear in search engines. (for 2 years we were not on the first page of companies that popped up under a search for "youth performance company")

Because we can not alter the front page of the website (no one can figure it out), it does not have current information, and people who wind up on our site have to click through many other pages before getting the information that they need.

The site design is not user friendly - we would like a website that has:

* a front page that includes our latest news, current & upcoming events, ticket buying links, directions to our various locations, a donate now button, links to facebook/twitter/blogs/youtube, etc.

* the overall site needs a strong organization structure that is based on our programming (main stage shows, classes, residencies, leadership council, films, special events, etc)

* a website design that takes SEO into consideration

* it should not take more than 2 clicks to get to the info you want - and you should not get frustrated trying to find simple information

* the capability of uploading/embeding videos easily directly to our site (not hosted on vimeo or youtube)

* the possibility of easily connecting our website with our database at some point in the near future.

* a PCI compliant website

* it would be awesome to have a site that was viewable on a smart phone

We also need a website that is easily updated by our staff.

How the new functionality will help

Two of our 3.5 staff members spend an inordinate amount of trying to figure out how to update the website with new shows, classes, and more. They are already overworked.

Our patrons wind up at the wrong location, they are unable to purchase tickets or register for a class because the links are broken with the simplest changes, and frustrated patrons do not return.

An easily updated, fully functional (not just pretty) website would free up time that staff would then spend on programming and with our constituents. A simple-user friendly website would make our patrons and parents happier (and more likely to return). And, a cool, teen-friendly site that shows up on your phone would impress those 'artsy' kids that are looking for a place to belong, and they would be more likely to show up at our door, ready to get involved.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_screen%20shot%202012-03-19%20at%203.45.07%20pm Thumbnail_screen%20shot%202012-04-17%20at%2012.32.13%20pm

30 Messages from Supporters

2012-02-29 18:33:37 UTC
Ben Cannon

YPC is a wonderful organization, fantastic for those involved and those coming out to see the shows. Some of my closest friends and most memorable times have come from YPC, and anything to help get their information out there (i.e. a revamped site) can be immeasurably wonderful. Get these guys a new website!

2012-02-24 18:12:06 UTC
Julie Kendrick

Gosh, I love YPC. They continue to do so much for my family, especially my two kids, that I ended up volunteering and joining the board. I am excited by their mission, their energy and the way they empower young people through performance. They are one swell organization, worthy of "bravos" and roses and big juicy grant money.

Gosh, I hate the YPC website. Is "sucks" too strong a word? Replace something more appropriate if it strikes you as offensive. First as a parent, I found it almost impossible to navigate the site for even something as simple as buying a ticket or enrolling for a class. And now, as a volunteer, I am continually stymied when my offers to help are met with [cue scary music] the news that I need to "See if you can fix it in the website."

I never CAN fix it, because, lovely as it is to look at on the outside, that is one broken-down, beat-up, old nag of a website. It's like a bad-breathed old dog disguised in a supermodel's body. Euthanize it please, O Great and Powerful Nerds, and help us find our way into the twenty-first century. Give us a cute new puppy for Christmas, or a new website.

We thought about it. We'll take the website.

2012-02-24 18:58:31 UTC
Jodi Lebow

This amazing organization has been making an impact in the community for 20 years and from an online marketing perspective lags behind other theaters in the community. They choose to put resources against developing young people and producing amazing work and could really use the support here to help bring their web presence up to par with the energy of the company. They are a superb fit if you're looking for a site where you can have a huge impact and they will embrace the creativity and innovation you can bring to the site!

2012-02-24 19:01:41 UTC
Jack Silverman

Please help YPC in anyway you can with their webiste design. They are a wonderful organization.

2012-02-24 19:27:13 UTC
Kurt Gueldner

YPC is a terrific organization with a reputation for serving the community and producing and performing high quality theatrical productions. This committment to quality in all that they do is unfortunately not matched by the functionality and layout of their website. Based on outdated technology that no one understands, the website contains inaccurate or worse, missing, information and is so frustrating to potential clients that YPC is hindered in it's ability to fulfill it's mission of igniting the creative spirit of youth.

Please help this organization continue to reach the youth and parents of the Twin Cities by upgrading their website functionality and design. YPC has built a long legacy of lifting up families and individuals by directly impacting their's now your chance to leave a legacy of your own by enabling YPC to continue their mission in the years to come.

2012-02-24 19:42:06 UTC
Joan Kinsley

Okay, let’s be honest. You are all nerds, right? I know you are all totally cool. But I bet those bullies in middle school didn’t know that, and they were MEAN to you, right? Well, the Youth Performance Company is full of theater geeks, so they can totally relate. And they are actively working to combat bullying, with their upcoming 3rd staging (by popular demand) of their honest and powerful original production of “MEAN.” (

I know that you are donating your time because you are trying to make a difference. YPC is trying to make a difference too – by developing future leaders, inspiring kids to be BOLD and to build the next generation into strong, confident nerds to rule the world.

The problem with theater geeks is that they don’t know how to build websites. And the problem with YPC is that they have a ridiculously horrible website that no one knows how to update or navigate, and no one can find it in search. It might be nice and shiny from the outside, but you folks know better - it's a disaster on the back end.

So please, choose YPC. Do it for the nerds, the geeks, the kids. I implore you!

2012-02-24 19:43:40 UTC
Dick Fiala

These are theatre people... if you want a help with a dramatic monolog, learn a song and dance number or participate in a stage fighting class, then YPC is for you. However, finding information about upcoming classes, auditions, and productions is a huge challenge. They are an excellent organization, please help.

2012-02-24 19:48:53 UTC
Malia Cole

What a fantastic challenge - you're like the batman of nerds - under the cloak of night you fix evil websites.

You couldn't choose a better organization to rescue, YPC is exactly what the arts are suppose to be. They create unforgettable art, collaborating with young artists of all types, to take their audience on a journey that will have them laughing and crying, often during the same performance. I was a young actor with YPC, when I realized that the artistic director was spending her rush hour picking child-actors up from their homes so that they would not have to ride the city bus, I realized that this was not your run of the mill theatre company. This was something special, a place that not only had a mission statement, but actually mean it.

Please help YPC to embody that spirit in their website, for the whole world to see.

2012-02-24 21:54:16 UTC
Jill Jensen Coghlan

Youth Performance Company is a GREAT organization that serves the community by educating young artists and future leaders. I love, love, love YPC so much that I agreed to be the President of the Board. We have a fully functioning board, but NOT a fully functioning is abominable!!! We have great staff, but they are just not tech savvy enough to make the website function. It takes way too many clicks to get to the classes or to the tickets. HELP US!!! We need to get up to date to compete in with the other youth theaters! HELP US!!! HELP YPC!!! WE NEED, NEED, NEED YOU!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you and Make it a Great Day!!!!

2012-02-25 19:30:31 UTC
Annie O'Connor

YPC is an amazing organization that captured me after the first play I saw them perform. The talent of the young actors and staff is not currently shown through the low functionality of the website. The dramatic positive changes made in the lives of all that are part of YPC can be expanded if the website is made more user-friendly and can catch the attention of a wider audience. Please help YPC market to world how wonderful they are so they can continue making a difference in the lives of children.

2012-02-26 02:48:13 UTC
Miriam Johnson-Dunkirk

YPC is one of those organizations that sucks you in- and I mean that in the very best way. It is a family of wonderful people that care deeply about young people. They provide support and encouragement to youth and young adults to help them discover for themselves the very best that they can be. One of the ways that they facilitate this is through performing and putting together theater of outstanding quality. One of the biggest challenges is getting people to come and see the shows and support the organization. A well put together website that is easy to find and easy to navigate is crucial to this goal. This is where YPC is lacking, and this is where you come in. As an alumni of YPC, and now as a current board member, I know first hand how YPC can support and lift up someone. Now YPC needs to be lifted up and tech-supported. Please help!

2012-03-01 14:58:57 UTC
Stephanie Miller

I have known the artistic director and founder of YPC for 26 years. I have been involved in the company from its begining. This beautiful theater is a safe and warm environment to grow up in. The shows they produce have guts and they pour their heart into everything they do. They need your help. Please lend a hand to YPC. They are vital to the performing arts and to the community. Thank You!

2012-02-28 04:55:45 UTC
Diane E. Anderson

You've heard that old folk or camp song..."well, there's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza...well, fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, FIX IT! Well, I can't speak for Liza or Henry, but I will say there's a hole in this ol' bucket and by hole, I mean there are black holes and links that need a-fixin'. The bucket is their site and my bucket list includes a purty little wishlist:

1. General overhaul of their current layout where YPC's current shows appear on the front page. Some 2011-12 show info/tix was difficult to locate on the site. Easy info location = more revenue generation and that will fill some financial holes.
2. Highlight their upcoming spring Cattle Call Gala. We need to know when and where and how to give or donate auction items and what's the theme for gussyin' up this year? Y'all agree, huh?
3. More conncectivity to social networking feeds.'s 2012 and his stringed-aluminum-can-of-a-site needs to go bye-buh.

We've graduated into the 21st century and hope you can help this site move from the backwoods and byways to be the young urban sophisticate that YPC is capable of.

2012-02-28 13:39:35 UTC
Mary Fiala

As a young artist at YPC, I try to use this website a lot to find out about shows and such. The website looks nice...once it has finished loading! It has a confusing layout and all around terrible structured. Please help us!

2012-02-28 22:21:11 UTC
Harry Wendt

YPC has a good website. But there website does not refelct on how good of a company they are! YPC is an amazing theater and deserves the best. Please try your best to help them out. As being a young artist with YPC, I use this website A LOT for any purposes. Please please help YPC out.

2012-02-28 22:31:47 UTC
Marisa Tejeda

I am a young artist at Youth Performance Company. Youth Performance Company is a great theater that is dedicated to the advancment of the youth in the community by putting on producitions, hosting classes and workshops for kids, and many more oppurtunities. Youth Performance Company's website does not do justice to the organization. A new website would really help us help others get informed and involved. Please help YPC!!!

2012-02-29 16:48:07 UTC
Mary Petrie

Ah - add me to the list of people who love every last little thing YPC except their web site, which is neither all that attractive or functional. Wouldn't it be amazing --and right - if the web representation of the organization mirrored the organization itself: energetic, highly efficient, laser-sharp, current, pleasing-to-the-eye, and interactive. Right now, there's a disconnect between what the average person sees online, the web site, and the professionalism and power of the theater company itself. This is the rare organization that actually manages to effectively combine a commitment to youth development and a commitment to art in a way that produces the best in both art and young people. It's a privilege to see their shows and be a small part of their community. Now if only I get see the auditions or order tickets with ease. . . .

2012-02-29 17:11:56 UTC
Jacie Knight

You are hip and cool--and we need hip and cool. That is what YPC is--but our current website does not reflect that. Our website is such an important tool for marketing. And since YPC has a limited marketing budget--our website is even more important!!! Please HELP!!!! Your are creative wizards--we bow to you!!
We are not too proud to BEG!! If we had a website that rocked--it would drive so many more people to our organization. And thats why we are here. To serve young artist and families. Help us serve others!!

P.S.--Even if we don't get picked--but hopefully we will--We all think what your are doing to help non-profits is so AWESOME!!

2012-02-29 18:43:02 UTC
Rachel Hausman

YPC is an amazing theatre for kids everywhere. I have been involved there for almost two years now and I have had some of the best experiences a teenager could have. I think that if this place could create such a great family for me, then it needs a good website to create great experiences for other young people in the world who just need an opportunity to shine and be themselves, but if they aren't able to access the website easily and get the information they need to get involved it will make it much harder for them to participate with this amazing theatre.

2012-02-29 19:09:14 UTC
wendy b.

I went to a performance at YPC for the first time last week and was blown away by the talent of the actors and how amazingly professional the performance was. Very impressive!

2012-02-29 20:01:10 UTC
Heather R

I've recently graduated college as well as moved to Minnesota and already YPC has made a huge impact on my life in theater! I'be been given opportunities to practice my skills and learn through each performance I've worked on with them! Everything I've learned while working with them has opened me up for more job opportunities. I would not have gotten this far in such a short amount of time without YPC!

2012-02-29 20:34:27 UTC
janet sweeney

YPC is an incredible organization. It is a very inclusive group of people that supports the development of children no matter what ability level they are at when they join. There are many ways that children's lives are touched whether it be acting, taking a class, working behind the scenes or just having a place to go and be accepted. The staff is top-notch and very professional while remaining warm and welcoming.

2012-03-01 00:12:34 UTC
Ian Udulutch

I am a young artist at Youth Performance Company. Youth Performance Company is an amazing theater organization. I have grown so much as an artist and if it were''t for YPC I would have never had the chance to be the artist that I am today. I first head of ypc from friends and shortly after I went to go see one of their shows. I always have found the website is incredibly difficult and confusing to figure out. It takes forever to find the information that I am looking for. If i want to pre-order tickets, learn about up and coming events, and even register for a class it sometimes seems or is impossible!!!!! So many more people would get to discover this amazing organization if there was a better website! please Please PLEASE HELP US!!!!---YPC NEEDS HELP---

2012-03-01 03:02:07 UTC
Scarlett Thompson

I love YPC. As a young artist there, I understand how truly amazing this company is, and they deserve the very best. And of course since they're a theater company, their website has to be easy to use and wonderfully fashionable. So please help YPC!!!!!!!!! It would mean so much to EVERYONE. Patrons, performers, and staff!

2012-03-01 03:36:11 UTC
Kari Xiong

Seriously, HELP THEM. No, seriously. As you can see from all the testimonials, many adore, appreciate and value Youth Performance Company and the great work that they do. But, the great work is with youth, and connecting with families from directing a show to encouraging students to sing, dance and pour their souls on stage. The major flaw...not having a user-friendly, attractive website. Please, save the day! Please help.

2012-03-01 06:05:37 UTC
Susan Byers

YPC absolutely dazzles audiences with the quality of their socially-meaningful plays and the creativity of their highly entertaining films for and by teens. Unfortunately, their website lacks razzle dazzle. They need a website that more fully showcases their talents and makes it easy for audiences and participants to more easily learn about the organization, buy tickets, register for classes, view clips, donate, and have a more positive online experience. Please consider YPC for an online overhaul.

2012-03-01 14:00:05 UTC
Naveh Shavit-Lonstein

YPC is a wonderful theatre company. I enjoy being in the audience as much as being on stage. The best thing about YPC is that they put on plays that make kids think and feel. A great website would only help get the message out and stop frustrating my family members when they need to get information about shows and order tickets. Thanks!

2012-03-01 15:39:22 UTC
Katie Rye

YPC is truly an organization that gives everything they have to the youth they serve. They provide a sense of community, family and an opportunity for an a creative outlet!
With all their focus dedicated to the services they provide, they have not had the opportunity to focus on their website and are in need of your awesome and creative team helping another! A new website, one that is truly functional, could help spread the word of YPC and provide them the opportunity to reach more people and create and even larger impact in the community!

Thank you!

2012-03-01 20:21:18 UTC
Steve Boland

I've had the pleasure of working with YPC, and they do some great work. They could do even more if their web presence really leveraged their volunteers, supporters, and donors. Getting donors engaged would help so much of what they do - Help them, Obi-Wan-Nerds, you're their only hope!

2012-03-05 18:53:26 UTC
Jennifer Deets

YPC is a wonderful organization that teaches kids confidence, life skills and brings important subject matters to them to discuss with their peers. I know they had to cut back performances this year due to budget, they could really use this help with their web site!

Our Mission

The mission of Youth Performance Company is to ignite and fuel the creative spirit of youth by developing, empowering, and advancing young artists. Youth Performance Company productions are performed, stage managed, built, costumed, and run predominantly by artists ages 21 and younger. Many plays are also co-written, choreographed, or assistant directed by youth, including YPC’s recent MEAN, an original musical about bullying and My Feet Is Tired, But My Soul Is Rested (2010). Since 1989, YPC produces three to four mainstage shows annually as well as a number of other productions created by YPC’s Young Artists Council, a leadership group of teens who serve as an advisory force for YPC. The council meets monthly and works on a variety of their own projects in support of Youth Performance Company. YPC’s productions have historically consisted of a range of styles that appeal to a diverse audience, including edgy and bold dramatic interpretations of well-known fairy tales, stage adaptations of award-winning literature, popular musicals, and YPC’s unique brand of original social justice theatre that has attracted young artists throughout the Twin Cities. Productions aim to provide affordable family entertainment, promote literacy, integrate theatre arts into classroom learning and stimulate discussion on racism, discrimination, and intolerance. YPC’s original social justice productions have also earned accolades from the theatre community, including two Ivey Awards. As a result of YPC’s unique brand of youth empowerment through theatre, the company has evolved into a community that many youth have defined as “family.” Young people who participated in the first YPC productions as teens have returned to choreograph, compose music, direct, write, and design. Others now attend YPC shows with their own children. Participants often comment that, once a person becomes involved with Youth Performance Company, he or she will always be part of a unique family that accepts people for who they are, however they are. A paid, artistic/administrative staff of three full time employees, one part-time employee, and a volunteer working board of 16 directors lead and manage Youth Performance Company. YPC also contracts with approximately 50 paid artist educators/mentors annually. Artist educators/mentors bring expertise in the disciplines of playwriting, directing, music composition and direction, choreography, arts education, set, costume, sound, and lighting design. Youth Performance Company collaborates with artists who have worked on professional stages throughout the Twin Cities, including the Guthrie Theater, Penumbra Theatre, and Illusion Theatre, among others.