About Us

Firebird Youth Theater is an award-winning youth-led theater company based in New York City. Students have the opportunity to act, direct, design, and learn valuable theater making skills as members of the Firebird community. Our mission is to cultivate creative leadership in the arts for young people.

We believe in young people making art happen.

Cast & Crew of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Photo by Katherine Bourbeau

In the Spring of 2013, Firebird Youth Theater made their debut as the first independent youth-lead theater company in our community, with their first off-Broadway production: Down the Chocolate River and Beyond, based on a beloved chocolate fairy tale by Roald Dahl. The show was adored by audiences of all ages, and sold out a five-show run.

Since 2013, Firebird has produced four more off-Broadway shows, Expresso (2014), Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (2015), Treasure Island (2016), and Romeo + Juliet (2017). Both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Treasure Island received numerous awards and nominations from National Youth Arts, and were reported on by Huffington Post and TDF Magazine.

Meet the Firebird Team

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Leo Lion – Artistic Director
Leo is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Firebird Project.

Since he founded the company in 2013, he has directed five productions, Down the Chocolate River and Beyond, Expresso, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Treasure Island, and Romeo+Juliet. He is the recipient of three Outstanding Direction Awards from National Youth Arts. His acting credits include work with Different Directions, Wingspan Arts, Ayun Halliday, and Firebird Youth Theater. He is also a playwright, whose plays have been produced by Firebird Youth Theater, Downtown Art, and Writopia Lab’s Worldwide Plays Festival.

For more info visit www.leolion.com.

Thomas Manfred Pflanz – Resident Production Stage Manager

Thomas has stage managed every Firebird production since 2014, after joining the company as a stage hand and prop master in their first show. Other tech credits include work as a Venue Production Assistant in the 2015 NY International Fringe Festival, and continued lighting design/operation. Thomas’s most recent projects include Theater of the Apes’ 2017 Repertory Season and Tales of Neverland, an original adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy, written by himself and Tinamarie Panyard. A techie by trade, he also acts when the occasion presents itself. Follow Thomas on Twitter, and stay up to date with his current and future projects: @Thomas_Pflanz

 

Zoe Senese-Grossberg – Literary Director & Resident Dramaturge

Zoe is a dramaturg who has been with Firebird since 2016. She dramaturged Firebird's production of Romeo+Juliet and is continuing working with Firebird moving forward. She is a vocal major at Laguardia High School and has worked as an assistant stage manager and intern for The Workshop Theater and Brooklyn Children's Theater. Zoe is also a director who recently directed Inertia by Owen Gifford Smith and Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen by Carol Churchill, as well as assistant directed  Hamlet, all at the Powerhouse Theater Training Company where she was a directing apprentice in 2017.  She is also a playwright, and recently had her play Etz Hayim read with MTC's WriteNow program. To contact her use zoeclairesg@gmail.com

Julia Withers – Program Coordinator & Producing Director

Julia is an interdisciplinary NYC-based creative whose work includes (but is not limited to) translation, printmaking, painting, film, and playwriting. Her creative writing has been published in the Susquehanna University Apprentice Writer, Poly Arts Journal, and a number of local zines. Recent credits include film work alongside Alexandra Ljadov and with Cinesouvenir, and an upcoming film co-produced with Leo Lion.

To contact Julia, use juliajwithers@gmail.com.

More info at juliawithers.com