PlayMakers’ award-winning Summer Youth Conservatory returns for 2016

Directed & Choreographed by Matthew Steffens


A girl with a disfiguring scar sets out from her home in Spruce Pine, NC to seek healing and finds her true beauty along the way. Watch the best young talent from across the Triangle shine in this powerhouse piece of theatre showcasing musical styles from country, gospel, bluegrass and honky-tonk rock to Memphis blues. Violet is the moving story of a courageous heroine you’ll never forget.

“a work of great resonance and beauty and joy” New York Magazine

“The Broadway musical we’ve been waiting for has arrived!” Newsday

Violet is the culmination of PlayMakers’ Summer Youth Conservatory, a six-week practicum for high school students—both on stage and behind the scenes—combining top-notch teaching with unparalleled practical experience. Students work with professional directors, choreographers, musical directors, and theatre technicians to mount a professional quality production for all to enjoy.


This inspiring contemporary musical is touching, funny and sometimes frank with moments including adult language and subject matter that might be inappropriate for younger audience members. We recommend Violet for patrons ages 13 and older.

CLICK HERE to learn more about our Summer Youth Programs.

A Photo Story of how our production of Violet comes together, courtesy of Huth Photo.


Jul 28 2016

More Rhythms of the Road: In Transit with Violet

The vicarious trip we make alongside Violet is one that cuts to the core of the human condition. With the blossoming of her initially diminished self, she becomes a symbol of each of our journeys through the paths of the maturation process, moving from ignorance to knowledge, from fragmentation to wholeness, from isolation to community, and from fear to love.

Jul 28 2016

A Day with Violet by an SYC Veteran

Thomas Cassidy appears in Violet as the fiery televangelist Preacher. Thomas was also in the acting companies for Guys & Dolls (SYC 2015) and Hairspray (SYC 2014), so he's well acquainted with all the work that goes into putting on our Summer Youth Conservatory shows. Here he shares a series of photos, with personal captions, he took during rehearsal capturing a behind-the-scenes look at a "day in the life" during SYC.

Jul 27 2016

SYC: Creating Characters, Creating Friendships

Hi everyone! My name is Lili Whittier and I play Young Vi in PlayMakers Summer Youth Conservatory production of Violet. I’ve been involved in Summer Youth Conservatory productions for the past 3 summers, and I can say without hesitation that taking part has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Jul 21 2016

Rooting Violet in North Carolina, a 'Tree-venture'

PlayMakers' Summer Youth Conservatory allows high school students to get involved in all aspects of creating theatre, both onstage and backstage. This year, when set designer Robin Vest included the use of real trees on stage in her design, the Theatre Tech crew had a special project!

Jul 18 2016

Rhythms of the Road: In Transit with Violet

The Road Trip. It’s an American institution, obsession, and rite of passage. Traveling on, hitting the highway, whether following well-worn paths or “lighting out for the territories” in Huck Finn’s famous phrase, the lure of the road occupies a hallowed place in our national consciousness, beckoning in mutual directions from the intersection of leisure and longing.

Jul 5 2016

Violet Dances – on a Bus!

When I conceptualize choreography for a show it’s important that it is driven by the story … and this story is ON A BUS! So you can only do so much before things start to look like a bad 80s music video. But the challenge is something I’ve embraced over the past six months.

Jul 1 2016

Violet: A Diverse Musical Journey

This year's Summer Youth Conservatory show Violet takes us on a journey across the American South in the 1960s. As we travel from Appalachian North Carolina toward Oklahoma, the music that moves us along is as varied as the locations and characters we visit on the way. From bluegrass to gospel, folk to Memphis blues, it's an experience that invites us to hop on the bus and join our heroine, Violet, for the ride.


Local Theatres Prepare the Next Generation
By Taryn Oesch
July 27, 2016

“Violet” actors shined in youth production
By Leah Moore
The Daily Tar Heel
July 24, 2016

PlayMakers’ Summer Youth Conservatory Presents Violet: A Musical
By Alan R. Hall
Classical Voice of North Carolina
July 23, 2016


Youth Cast Presents ‘Violet:’ Exploring Inner Beauty And Race In The South
By Will Michaels and Frank Stasio
WUNC / The State of Things
July 21, 2016

Opening Tonight: A Youthful VIOLET
By Kate Dobbs Ariail
The Five Points Star
July 21, 2016

Student-acted musical appeals to North Carolinians, current political climate
By Leah Moore
The Daily Tar Heel
July 21, 2016

Teen Phenom Ainsley Seiger Tackles the Title Role in the PlayMakers SYC Production of Violet
By Robert W. McDowell
Triangle Arts & Entertainment
July 20, 2016

By Brian Howe
July 20, 2016

‘Violet’ Opens at PlayMakers Theater Featuring Local Students
By Erin Wygant
July 18, 2016

Who’s Talking (radio interview)
With D.G. Martin
July 16, 2016

PlayMakers Summer Youth Conservatory Goes “Violet”
With Aaron Keck
July 14, 2016