Press/Media

FEATURES

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Light Rail Plays in Downtown Phoenix
By Lynn Trimble, Phoenix New Times, February 13, 2017
…The teams are tackling a diverse assortment of topics, including unwanted sexual advances, the challenges of going to college, and refugee experiences. Some plays are funny, others dramatic. Several involve creative props like giant eyeballs…
Several of the plays will be performed on moving trains, with actors surrounded by some riders who just happen to be there and others who show up just to watch the plays. Others get performed at various light rail stops, between Roosevelt Street and Camelback Road along Central Avenue.

Intersections: Art on the Light Rail
Inside the Ride, the Valley Metro blog, January, 2017
While the plays and the performers change every year, the idea remains the same – when we put theatre in unexpected places it has the potential to bring our community closer together. And there is nowhere that brings a cross-section of the community together more effectively than our public transit spaces. – Sarah Sullivan

Xanthia Walker of Rising Youth Theatre: 2015 Big Brain Finalist
By Evie Carpenter, Phoenix New Times, April 27, 2015
The inclusive nature of Rising Youth Theatre doesn’t stop at the people who help create the productions. [Co-founder Xanthia] Walker says RYT also aims to bring theater to people who may not actually go to the theater on their own accord.

Rising Youth Theatre works with youth to highlight struggles of underprivileged children=
By Mariah Hurst, Downtown Devil, April 24, 2014
A downtown theater group tells dynamic stories about the struggles growing up in Phoenix with help from the voices who know it best — underprivileged youth.

Artists gather to explore theatre of the oppressed
By Lynn Trimble, Art Musings Blog, September 2013
“Rising Youth Theatre is presenting training for fellow artists eager to explore this unique approach to creating and sharing original work.”

Rising Youth Theatre collaborates with community
by Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic, May 2013
“Rising Youth Theatre, a year-old company devoted to creating original plays in collaboration with young people from all walks of life in the Valley.”

Rising Youth Theatre
By TYA Today, Fall 2012
Rising Youth Theatre is featured in several places in the fall issue of this national magazine! Check out page 35 for a great piece on the company and theatre for social change

Rising Youth Theatre Presents Student-Written SOME ARE BEGINNING
By BBW News Desk, Broadway World, April 2012
“[A] play based on interviews conducted with youth and facilitated by the RYT resident artist team at Arizonan Project residency sites-Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, Flight 33, and Barrio Nuevo.”

Rising Youth Theatre: The Arizona Project
By Lynn Trimble, Raising Arizona Kids, December 2011
“Artists use various methods to help youth capture and share their thoughts about Arizona”

The Play’s The Thing: Innovative ASU Artswork Partnership Gives Youth a Voice
By Oriana Parker, Arizona State University Magazine, December 2010
Orianna Parker Article (pg. 44-47) about Artswork partnership at ASU with the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development. Features Sarah and Xanthia as former resident artists for the project, and discusses how the project served as a gateway to starting Rising Youth Theatre.

REVIEWS

Curtain Critic: Light Rail Plays spice up daily commutes
On a train car usually filled with silence, everyone was talking, laughing, shouting, singing and acting. It was fascinating to see these performances create such an energized public forum between total strangers.

All the World – including Phoenix’s Verde and Coronado Parks – Is A Stage
Mark Brodie, KJZZ, 2016
“To get a sense of what the shows are all about, we spoke with Matthew Mendez. He just finished his sophomore year at the Metropolitan Art Institute in Phoenix. We also talked to his co-director, Lilly Gomez, and Sarah Sullivan, one of Rising Youth Theater’s co-artistic directors.”

Light Rail Plays Returning Theatre to Transit 
Annika Cline, KJZZ, 2015
“When something unexpected like a play happens in your routine, I feel like in a positive way it forces community because you want to look around you and connect with people and make faces about how crazy it is. I like that our work makes people look up”

Rising Youth Theatre Presents ANTONIA: A CHICANA HIP-HOP ANTIGONE
By City Sun Times Staff, December 3, 2015
Playwright José Casas, director Xanthia Angel Walker and choreographer Melissa Britt worked with Danny “Skooby” Morales of Cyphers and dozens of hip hop artists of all ages to develop the play [Antonia: A Chicana Hip-Hop Antigone], which is an adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy Antigone. Both the playwright and director felt that the themes of Antigone, including power, fate vs. free will, rules vs. order and gender dynamics were relatable to hip hop culture as it relates to young people. The five elements of hip hop (Breaking, MCing, Graffiti, DJing and Knowledge/Understanding) all play a role in the storytelling.

Respecting Hip Hop in Rising Youth Theatre’s Production of Antonia
Jose Casas, Howlround, 2015
“With every show Rising Youth produces, the creative team engages with youth in the community through story circle interviews that focus on the community’s relationship to the issue being explored.”

Rising Youth Theatre and Cyphers’s Antonia Puts a Hip Hop Spin on the Classic Antigone
Emily Lockwood, Downtown Devil, 2015
“I wanted to do a bunch of different influences like Chicano theatre, Greek theater and hip hop theatre and to combine those into something kind of funky,”

Rising Youth Theatre creates “Fandom” play
By Lynn Trimble, Raising Arizona Kids, June 2015
More than a dozen Valley youth worked with Rising Youth Theatre on [Fandom’s] development. Before each performance, audience members watch a short film showing the group’s creative process. They can also stay for a post-show dialogue with Rising Youth Theatre professionals, guest artists and participating youth. Following Sunday’s show, Walker invited people to talk about ways participating in fandom influences the lives of young people. One person praised the play’s power for helping youth feel less alone; another said it helps youth “learn to disagree about things without hating each other.”

New play explores high school dropout crisis
By Lynn Trimble, Raising Arizona Kids, December 2014
Watching a recent rehearsal for “Disengage,” I was struck by the cast members’ dedication to crafting a quality piece of theater. They listened intently to director Xanthia Walker, treated each other with respect and showed plenty of patience in dealing with the fine details that go into finessing such a play. They left me wondering about ways we can better support struggling students and the role theater can play in engaging those at risk of dropping out of school. Maybe we have failed to recognize how theater can help them develop problem-solving skills and give them fun experiences that make them want to head to school every day. Instead of proffering concrete solutions, Rising Youth Theatre seeks to raise the issue within the context of young voices.

Incarcerated Youth Get a Voice in Rising Youth Theatre’s aDoBe
By Julie Peterson, November 22 2013
“Against a realistically bleak set of chain link, sealed packed boxes, and harsh light, the cast portrays real people whose identities have been combined and blurred for their own privacy and safety.”

Review of Venus in Stitches: Once upon a crazy quilt
By Lynn Trimble, Art Musings Blog, May 2013
“…filled with energy and heart, and clearly infused with a creative, collaborative spirit.”

Review of First Stories
By Lynn Trimble, Art Musings Blog, January 2013
“Eight youth artists. Eight professional artists. Eight original plays about the first time something happens.”

Review of Finding Family
By Lynn Trimble, Raising Arizona Kids, November 2012
“More than 200 immigrant youth ages 9 to 17 worked with Rising Youth Theatre to write and create these plays, which reflect their real life experiences.”

Review of Some Are Beginning
By Lynn Trimble, Raising Arizona Kids, April 2012
“’The play is about living in Arizona,’ [the youth] told me. Also friendship, facing hardship, not judging others and standing up for those who’re mistreated.”

Estrenan obra sobre la niñez (Premiered work on children)
By Eduardo Bernal, La Voz, April 2012
“Como primer proyecto, decidimos hacer una obra sobre lo que significa ser niño en Arizona en el 2012. (As a first project, we decided to do a play about what it means to be a child in Arizona in 2012.)”

AWARDS

Mayor’s awards honor artists of all mediums
By DD Staff, Downtown Devil, December 2012
Rising Youth Theatre was one of five organizations were honored with the first Mayor’s Arts Awards.

Mayor Stanton to Present First-Ever Mayor’s Arts Awards
By DPJ Staff, Downtown Phoenix Journal, December 2012
“[Mayor Greg] Stanton launched the awards to highlight the cultural richness of Phoenix and recognize excellence from the visual and performing arts in the community.”

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