The Summer Youth Theatre program was founded in 2002 by Vicki Gelona, Jim Williams, and his daughter Laurie in honor of their wife/mother, Ida Williams. Years later, when Jim passed, Laurie wanted to continue providing children an education in the arts, in remembrance of her parents. She wanted a place where children could come, completely free of charge, and be exposed to the arts her parents so dearly loved.
Since it’s creation, The Summer Youth Theatre has produced 40+ shows: How To Eat Like A Child, School House Rock Jr., Children’s Letters To God, Godspell Jr., Seussical Jr., Aladdin Jr., The Tenor: A Justin Credible Musical, High School Musical, The Island of Tomorrow, Footloose: The Musical, Willy Wonka Jr., A Chorus Line, High School Musical 2, Ticket to the Real World, RENT, 13, Legally Blonde, Little Mermaid Jr., 101 Dalmations KIDS, Godspell, Beauty and the Beast Jr., Annie KIDS, In The Heights, Mulan Jr., Cinderella KIDS, Shrek, Hairspray Jr., Aladdin KIDS, The Drowsy Chaperone, Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr., The Lion King KIDS, Madagascar Jr., Sister Act, Sleeping Beauty KIDS, Seussical KIDS, Mary Poppins Jr., Pippin, The Jungle Book KIDS, Frozen Jr., Once On This Island, Willy Wonka KIDS, Moana Jr., Violet, Legally Blonde Jr. and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Jim and Ida Williams loved the arts. They loved theatre and music and film. They enjoyed the arts all over the world, but especially in Ardmore. They were active in community theatre and were generous donors to the arts in many ways. They wanted the arts to continue to flourish in Ardmore and throughout Oklahoma. Our Summer Youth Theatre program honors them in the best way possible. By growing, showcasing, and celebrating our local youth for their talent, creativity, and vision. Just as important to them, were the caregivers of all these young people. For it takes the support and encouragement of family and friends for them to realize their gifts.