Full Impact Theater is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The history of FULL IMPACT THEATER (formerly known as Michigan Youth Theater or MYT) truly begins with the history of Class Act Drama 4-H Club, founded by Dr. Lisa Hodge Kander in 1992. This club was founded to give young people ages 5 to 19 an opportunity to explore theater arts. After a number of years, the club had formed a true community of young artists doing work of a high caliber. In 2000, Class Act Drama 4-H won the State Award for Project Area, the highest award a Michigan 4-H club can achieve.
Many young artists were interested in a more intensive experience. Michigan Youth Theater was founded (also by Dr. Kander) in 2000 to answer this interest for youth ages 12 to 19. MYT filed as a 501(c)3 organization in 2001, and this status was confirmed in 2005.
The summer of 2011 marked the retirement of our fearless leader, Dr. Kander, who, after so many years of love and dedication to MYT, moved on to act on other dreams. The group has established a scholarship fund in her name, the Dr. Lisa Hodge Kander Scholarship Fund, to honor her vision of giving everyone the opportunity to experience the magic of theater.
We changed our name to Full Impact Theater in the spring of 2012, but our mission remains the same—to develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills in youth ages 12 to 19 through theater production experiences while providing professional quality, classics-based live theater experiences and education for community schools and audiences of all ages.
Dr. Lisa Hodge Kander founded Michigan Youth Theater (now Full Impact Theater) in 2000 and acted as its creative director though the summer of 2011. Her love of theater is contagious and her teaching style such that she is able to pass on her enthusiasm to people of all ages. Her ability to make theater (even Shakespeare) accessible to teenagers made MYT a unique place where young artists could work in serious theater and give performances that would rival many adult actors.
Dr. Kander holds a Ph,D. in theater directing from Wayne State University (WSU) and is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Drama Studio of London. She holds a licentiate from the Royal Academy of Music and Drama in London. In 2005, she completed a month’s study at the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia.
Kander has produced, directed or performed in more than 100 plays. She has over 40 years of experience in theater and more than 20 years experience working with youth in theater. Kander is the founder of Class Act Drama 4-H Club (winner of the 2000 State Award in Project Area) and founder of Michigan Youth Theater (now Full Impact Theater), one of the original Sites of Promise for America’s Promise of Metro Detroit. Kander is a winner of the 2002 National Points of Light Award for her work in youth theater. She has directed Class Act and MYT youth in full-length productions of Shakespeare, Brecht, Miller, Sophocles and Williams. She has created, directed and toured youth productions of Shakespeare is Fun! and American Folk Tales and Legends.
to schools, libraries, camps and festivals. Her Class Act and MYT productions have appeared at the Holly Dickens Festival, Waterford Cultural Council, the Michigan Renaissance Festival, and the Detroit Institute of Arts Summer Festival and Noel Night.
Kander has taught theater workshops for Michigan State University Extension, Class Act Drama 4-H, Rochester College, WSU and Americorps. She currently teaches in the Theatre Department of WSU. She has written and directed segments of Daedal Doors for Bloomfield Television. She has also written and directed a number of productions for Class Act Drama 4-H and for MYT, most recently Puss in Boots for Class Act (2007) and Nightlight: Vampires Afraid of the Dork for MYT (2009). Most recent directing credits include Proof at WSU Studio Theatre (2006) and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, or What You Will (2009) and Taming of the Shrew (2010), and Ibsen’s Ghosts for Michigan Youth Theater. She is also the originator and first director of the No Feare Shakespeare touring program of Wayne State University.
The summer of 2011 marked Dr. Kander’s last production with MYT. Her retirement was a bitter pill to swallow, but her legacy lives in the mission of our organization as it moves forward as Full Impact Theater. A scholarship fund has been established in her name, the Dr. Lisa Hodge Kander Scholarship Fund, to honor her commitment to making theater accessible to everyone.
We thank Dr. Kander (Lisa) for her dedication to this organization, to theater and to young artists. Without her, there would be no Full Impact Theater where teenagers have the opportunity to experience the magic of theater.
We believe that every young person possesses both the desire and the capability for excellence in their achievements, leading to self respect and respect for others. We believe that training in the theater arts is an invaluable advantage in today’s world where communication is key, and where teamwork is what it takes to get the job done. Through the integrated arts discipline of theater performance, youth will develop personal expression skills, a sense of responsibility, integrity, problem solving skills, and time management skills. Theater provides a venue to articulate hopes and fears, share problems and develop plans to overcome them while working cooperatively with others. Through theater young people learn to act on their dreams.
We work hard to make our mission a reality.
We have volunteers and mentors that work towards our common goal.
We look forward to meeting individuals that share our vision.
Please contact us if you would like to help be a part of our team.
About our Board of Directors
We have a enthusiastic full board of directors made up of adults and teen members. We believe that it is very important for teens to understand the business aspects of our organization. We hold our annual meeting in January and post the date of this meeting in December. All active members are invited to attend. If you have any questions/comments for the board, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.