the rising youth process

 Rising Youth Theatre’s plays are created through a multi-generational collaborative process, where artists of all ages work in a shared learning, creative youth development model. The company performs in non-traditional theatre spaces, including the Light Rail, public parks, and more, ensuring that all audiences feel invited to engage with the art and accompanying dialogue. There is no cost for youth to participate and all performances are presented to the public for free, strengthening access to arts and dialogue across Arizona communities. 

Developing a full length play is a multi-year process, divided across four phases. The first phase is research - we assemble a team of youth and adults that work as a community of co-learners, gathering as much information about our topic as possible, through scholarship, story sharing, and our own lived experiences. The second phase is devising - we work as a team to develop a script outline out of our research. The third phase is production - we produce a full length play and dialogue experience. The fourth and final phase is ongoing dissemination - we work to continue the life of each project where it is relevant and meaningful. 


Founded in 2011, Rising Youth Theatre works in collaboration with young people and professional artists to create socially relevant original plays with youth voices at the center. In the company’s model, plays are created in partnership with the community, through a multi-generational collaborative process where artists of all ages work in a shred learning, creative youth development model. The company works to perform in non-traditional theatre spaces, in which all audiences will feel invited to engage with the art and accompanying dialogue. Alongside artmaking, the Rising Youth Theatre ensemble leads workshops and residencies in schools and community spaces and actively participates in community events, working to ensure that youth voices are represented in a wide variety of spaces in Arizona. 

Rising Youth Theatre’s core tools for creating, facilitating, teaching, collaborating, and reflecting in our work include: 

  • Power Sharing: Rising Youth Theatre understands that in order to truly share leadership between adults and youth, we must actively practice power sharing. This means power sharing in decision making processes, budgeting, staffing, artistic leadership, and more. 
  • Co-Creation: Adults and youth work collaboratively at Rising Youth Theatre. We co-create, meaning adults and youth bring their full expertise to a shared leadership table in all aspects of the company’s work. 
  • Intergenerational Ensemble: Artists of all ages are a part of Rising Youth Theatre’s work. We intentionally curate ensembles that blend ages, performance disciplines, and areas of expertise related to the topics we are exploring in our projects. 
  • Site Specific and Site Relevant Work: Rising Youth Theatre used to perform in traditional theatre spaces, and we found out quickly that our audiences weren’t there with us. We moved out of traditional spaces, and now perform and present in community relevant spaces-- places where people are spending their everyday lives and can encounter theatre coming to them- libraries, parks, schools, street corners, public transportation, and more.   
  • Stories: Stories are at the center of our humanity, and Rising Youth centers the stories of young people in our work. Listening, sharing, exchanging, telling, and imagining stories is at the center of our work. 
  • Dialogue: Our work is meant to be a space where people can engage in dialogue about issues of importance to young people. 
  • Devising: We build our plays through a collaborative process that uses stories, interview, imagination, research, improvisation, playwriting, Theatre of the Oppressed tools, and more. 
  • Youth Leadership: We intentionally scaffold pathways for young people to grow in organizational and community leadership through their time with Rising Youth Theatre. 
  • Partnership: Our residencies, original works projects, and short term projects are all partnership driven-- we partner with values-aligned organizations to create work. 

Rising Youth Theatre's productions are always free! Stay connected for upcoming shows

Rising Youth Theatre's productions are always free! Stay connected for upcoming shows