A “keysmash” according to urban dictionary, is “exactly that, a random smashing of the keyboard that conveys intense or overwhelming emotion that cannot be expressed through words.” And we know that that is what trying to talk about mental health can feel like. For both young people and adults there is a tremendous amount of shame, stigma, and secrecy wrapped around these topics. We often don’t know how to start talking about anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, the things that feel hardest, even when we want and need to. This project both imagines a future where mental health support is naturally embedded into all facets of our lives, and provides immediate resources and help to teens in crisis. Following a year of development and a successful workshop performance in 2022, Keysmash: A Conversation about Mental Health will have a public sharing in December 2022 followed by a tour of both the process and performance to schools across the Phoenix area in 2023.
Produced in partnership with Bring Change to Mind and the Laloboy Foundation with support from the New England Foundation for the Arts, Glendale Arts Commission, Scottsdale Arts, Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Arizona Humanities, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.
In 1904, forty Irish Catholic orphans were brought to Arizona so they could be placed with Catholic families. These families, like most Catholics in Arizona at the time, were Mexican. White people in the community, enraged at the idea of white children being placed in Mexican homes, formed a vigilante squad to “rescue” them, over the objection of both the children and their adoptive families. This violent mob kidnapped the children, nearly lynching the local nuns and priest in the process. When the Catholic church sued on behalf of the families to get their children back, the courts ruled in favor of the kidnappers. Rising Youth Theatre will use this moment in history as a starting point for an immersive theatre experience and community dialogue, drawing connections between this moment in history and the world we live in now. This project will begin the research phase with a youth and adult artistic team this year, with a workshop performance in spring 2023. Produced with support from Arizona Humanities, Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.
Rising Youth Theatre’s signature production, The Light Rail Plays will return to live performances after two years performing virtually! Based on the platform at the Tempe Transit Center, this project brings a public art performance to life on and around the Valley Metro Light Rail in February 2023. The project puts young people and adults into direct, one on one partnership and explores the nature of public transit and public art, specifically in our community. Produced in partnership with Valley Metro and the City of Tempe.
Rising Youth Theatre defines “youth” up through age 25, knowing that after age 18 the number of resources and supports available to young people are often drastically reduced. For the young people in our staff and ensemble, there has become an increased demand for programming that can directly speak to the transitional moments between youth and adulthood, providing an opportunity to explore more advanced material and building on learning that has happened in previous experiences with the company. Opportunities for RAD workshops will be happening throughout the year.