Resident Artists & Designers

Elizabeth Polen, Resident Artist
Liz is a resident artist with Rising Youth Theatre and a teaching artist and actor with Childsplay. Her most recent acting credits include RYT’s premiere production of Some Are Beginning and Childsplay’s most recent production of Tomas and the Library Lady. In 2007 she earned a BA in Theatre Arts from Gordon College. The summer of 2009 she completed a summer intensive with Cornerstone Theatre Company. She studies at Megaw Actor’s Studio.

Yolanda London, Resident Artist
Yolanda London an actor, writer and teaching artist. Most recently, Yolanda was seen in Childsplay, Inc.’s production of Charlotte’s Web. Yolanda had worked all over the Valley with Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, Actor’s Theatre, Stray Cat Theatre, Black Theatre Troupe and Phoenix Metropolitan Opera. She can most frequently be seen on stage with Childsplay, where she has been a member of the acting ensemble and a teaching artist for the past 11 years. She is honored to be a resident artist with RYT.

Julia Cannon, Resident Artist
Julia is an artist, educator, and administrator.  Originally from North Carolina, she earned a BFA in Theatre and a BA in Spanish from Millikin University.  Though this is her first project with Rising Youth Theatre, she has taught and performed in Chicago, Los Angeles, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Mongolia prior to coming to Phoenix.  She is currently the Program Manager with Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children in central Phoenix.

Anastasia Schneider, Resident Designer
Anastasia hails from Montreal where she studied Design for the Theatre at Concordia University. In her third year of Performance Design at Arizona State, her fibre art focus overlaps into the realms of costumes and set. Recent work includes costumes for Finding Family, First Stories & Shipwrecked as a resident designer with RYT, co-designs for costumes on Emerge (ASU cross-disciplinary event, 2012 & 2013), textile design for Memory Room (Influx, 2013), costume design for Asylum (2013), The Fall of the House of Escher, Dog Act & Red Planet Respite (ASU mainstage, 2013-2014). She is honored to be working with Rising Youth Theatre and the Phoenix community through their exciting projects.

Samantha Bostwick, Resident Designer
Samantha is a Midwest girl enjoying her time in the desert. She has her Masters in lighting design from Michigan State University, and currently teaches production and design at Arizona School for the Arts. Her designs can most often be seen at Space 55 and RYT, though she has designed for Mesa Encore theatre, Teatro Bravo, and Greasepaint.

Rachel Solis, Resident Stage Manager
Rachel Solis graduated from Northern Arizona University with a BA in Theatre Design & Technology. By day she’s the Associate Production Manager for Childsplay and by night she’s the Stage Manager for Rising Youth Theatre. In her spare time she likes to read, run, paint, and catch up on her television shows.

Jose Casas, Playwright
Jose’ Casas’ is a playwright hailing from southern California. He has earned a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from the University of California (Santa Barbara), a M.A. in Theatre Arts from California State University (Los Angeles), and a M.F.A. in Playwriting from Arizona State University. His plays have been produced across the country. Titles include mindprobe/freddie’s dead, the vine, a bag of oranges, a million whispers all at once, talking in public (thoughts from la boyle) and all brown, all chingon. His first play in collaboration with RYT was aDoBe. His plays 14 and la rosa still grows beyond the wall have won the AriZoni Theatre Awards for Best Production of an Original Work. His plays, la ofrenda and somebody’s children have both received the Bonderman National Playwriting for Youth Award (2005, 2009) and the Alliance of Theater and Education’s Distinguished Play Award (2007, 2010). His published plays include la ofrenda (Dramatic Publishing), 14 (AltaMira Press & Paseos Nuevos) and somebody’s children. His anthology, Palabras del Cielo: An Exploration of Latina/o Theatre for Young Audiences will be published by Dramatic Publishing.