YAW was incorporated as an independent non-profit organization in 1990, succeeding the Coastside Youth Theater of the Half Moon Bay Department of Parks and Recreation.  The next several years featured successful student performances of the works of various playwrights.

Soon after, under the lead of Artistic Director Auri Naggar, YAW began an experiment in which the imaginations of its own students would generate materials for its plays.  Using a technique known as “Guided Improvisation”, the students created and starred in new musical productions with imaginative story lines, unique characters, and original dialogue with humor and songs.  These student-created plays have become a significant and unique part of the essence of the YAW program.  Volunteer help, especially from member families, has enabled the success of major productions of these plays, with costumes, makeup, sets, programs, props, music and so much more!

Another regular YAW event is the Haunted House at the Half Moon Bay Arts & Pumpkin Festival, featuring the students and their families as ghouls.  The Haunted House is visited by many thousands of guests during the Festival weekend.  This is the major fundraiser for YAW providing funds for the student-created play each year.

YAW is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors dedicated to the YAW mission statement: "To provide a positive environment in which children can develop theater skills and have opportunities for public performance" and honors of the uniqueness engrained into YAW for the families by the late Auri Naggar.  

The 2017-2018 Board of Directors: 

Jennifer Lockhart, President
Morgan Sarabia, Vice-President
Melinda McNaughton, Secretary
Terri Eckert, Treasurer
OPEN, Director-at-Large

Kevin North, Artistic Director