The 100th Day was an original theatre performance created by Rising Youth Theatre in partnership with ACLU Arizona's #Demand2Learn Campaign. The play takes place on the 100th Day of School, and examines the ways in which young people have access to education. The play centered around the core belief that all students in Maricopa County have the right to learn in safe and supportive environments and positions young people as leaders in exploring how this can become a reality for all Arizona youth.
This year’s Light Rail Plays traveled across three platforms, in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa, expanding the reach of the program.
The Kids’ Table explored the way we often separate young people out of so-called “adult” conversations. This play, created by an ensemble of youth artists, asks the question - what might happen if “the Kids’ Table” became a space where youth were not separated out, but integrated into the center of important dialogues? Addressing a wide range of topics, this funny and poignant story will give adults and youth a place to connect and inspire one another. Using the metaphor of a family dinner table, the play invited youth audiences to think about ways they can make their voices heard in the community and adult audiences to listen to the young people in their lives.
This year’s Light Rail Plays included a number of socially relevant explorations, including plays about refugees, racism, and unconscious bias.
Playwright Sigrid Gilmer worked with a team of Rising Youth Theatre artists, both youth and adult to explore stories of our living rooms. What do these places mean to us? What memories do they hold? And what does it mean to take the stories that happen in these private family spaces and move them into a public park? Together, this team created three short plays that explore how we feel about the places where we live. Each of the three plays was directed by a youth and adult director: Sarah Sullivan and Rachael Bernardino, Liliana Gomez and Matthew Mendez, and Xanthia Walker and Presley Nasisse. Performances took place at Verde Park in the Garfield Neighborhood and Coronado Park in the Coronado Neighborhood.
This year’s incarnation of The Light Rail Plays deepened our releationship with our accidental audiences, including stiltwalkers, larger than life puppets, and a bike race.
Rising Youth Theatre partnered with Cyphers center for urban arts for this adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy Antigone, and its themes including power, fate vs. free will, rules vs. order, and gender dynamics are 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 played a role in the storytelling, and the performance took place in an outdoor alley.
Fandoms have always been part of growing up. But in today’s connected culture, it goes to a whole different level. We know that being a fan is more than just being annenthusiast. Online fandoms build whole communities around fandom, both online and IRL (in real life). This original play from Rising Youth Theatre aims to take both ‘shipping and stories off of Tumblr and onto the stage, in a totally unique exploration of what it means to really love something.”
The Light Rail Plays returned to the Valley Metro with all new theatre pieces. Eight short plays performed on the trains and at the stations from Roosevelt/Central Ave. to Central Ave./Camelback, and explored the idea of “how Phoenix moves from place to place” with live music and tour guides.
More and more youth are leaving high school without a diploma. Arizona has one of the highest dropout rates in the US. As a community, we need to ask why. This play partnered with Genesis Academy, a charter school for young people who have disengaged from their education to explore this issue from a youth perspective.
Rising Youth Theatre and playwright Sigrid Gilmer worked with young people in the foster care system and the adults who work with them to create an original play.
RYT is partnering with a Juvenile Corrections Facility for its fall production, In the System. Playwright José Casas (La Ofrenda, Somebody’s Children) is writing the script based on interviews and workshops with young people in the juvenile justice system. The play will be simultaneously cast and rehearsed with youth at the facility and youth who can perform for the public.
Rising Youth Theatre partnered will partner with the Valley Metro Light Rail to bring back its original program pairing young artists one-on-one with professional artists to create 5 minute, 2 person plays on public transporation.
Venus in Stitches is a play set in the Sunnyslope neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona that explores the meaning of family. In the story, a community is thrown into mayhem when neighbors decorate out of season, make a ton of tamales, and sing strange songs to welcome home a long, lost loved one. Generational gaps are mended in this moving story for audiences of all ages.
RYT paired 8 adult professional artists with 8 youth artists to create an evening of original, two-person, five-minute plays about the firsts in our lives. Each artist team rehearsed over a period of three weeks, will culminating with a one night only performance event on January 27th.
RYT partnered with immigrant youth currently in Phoenix, AZ to create and produce three short plays written by three different playwrights about the experience of traveling to the United States. These bilingual plays were performed in two public performances on December 1st and 2nd 2012 at the Phoenix Center for the Arts.
The Arizonan Project asked youth from across the Phoenix Metro Valley what it means to live in Phoenix, Arizona in 2012—the year of the Arizona Centennial. RYT partnered with six residency sites—four branches of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, Barrio Nuevo, and Flight 33. Residencies were held across Phoenix—from Avondale to Guadalupe. RYT artists worked with over 100 youth in the residency phase of the project. The resulting play, Some Are Beginning featured a cast of twenty-nine youth and two adult professional actors, and was performed at Phoenix Center for the Arts in April 2012.