Nationally recognized playwright Sigrid Gilmer wrote the play Shipwrecked based on workshops with young people in group homes, story circles with the community and interviews with adults (judges, lawyers, case workers and advocates) who work in the system.

(Phoenix, Arizona) Rising Youth Theatre, a new theatre company that creates socially relevant original plays with youth will present the world premiere of Shipwrecked by Sigrid Gilmer on April 11, 12 and 13 at the Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 N. 3rd Street. Loosely adapted from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and based on the stories and experiences of young people and adults who are part of the system, Shipwrecked blends fantasy and reality to create an authentic picture of what it means to be a child in foster care. Performances will be held on April 11 at 7:00pm, April 12 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm and April 13 at 7:00pm.

Nearly 15,000 Arizona children are in foster care, group homes, or crisis facilities. 2013 saw more than 40,000 reports made to Child Protective Services (CPS) of abuse or neglect. The past year has brought about a whole new level of dialogue in Arizona with regards to CPS and young people in the system. As the way our state cares for children in crisis has become national news, Rising Youth Theatre (RYT) seeks to tell the stories of the system from the perspective of the young people at the heart of it. This original play from RYT aims to engage audiences in the actual experiences of these children, and what it means to be separated from your family – even when it is in the best interest of the child.

Rising Youth Theatre worked with young people in the system and the adults who work with them to create an original play. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Shipwrecked tells the story of two twins who are taken from their home in a metaphorical “storm.” They find themselves in “the land of Cepeaess – Protected realm of the lost, mistreated, and neglected,” where they are separated and then mistaken for one another. As they navigate their way through courts and case management, group homes and foster families, the twins will do whatever they have to do to find their way back to each other.

Nationally recognized playwright Sigrid Gilmer (Harry and the Thief, Seed) wrote the script based on workshops with young people in group homes, story circles in the community and interviews with adults who work in the system including judges, lawyers, guardian ad litems, CASA advocates and case managers. While the play is a work of fiction, it reflects the true stories of young people who are in the system. The play will be performed for the public at the Phoenix Center for the Arts featuring a mixed cast of professional adult artists, adult artists who are former foster kids, young people who are in the system and young people who are not. Adult actors include Kim Manning, Elizabeth Polen, Tomas Stanton, Charlie Steak and Nina White. Artistic Directors of RYT Sarah Sullivan and Xanthia Walker will co-direct the play.

Tickets to Shipwrecked are $10 or pay what you can – no one will be turned away for inability to pay. For ticketing information visit

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