Rising Youth Theatre experiences growth in preparation for 2017-18 season

The Phoenix-based Rising Youth Theatre has announced organization and structural growth for the company has it begins its 2017-18 season.

After six years as a volunteer-run organization, led by co-founders Sarah Sullivan and Xanthia Angel Walker, the company has announced that Ms. Walker has been hired as administrative director, its first employee.

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This expansion will allow the company to continue to grow, deepen its programs, and continue to engage youth, adults and the wider community in arts and social justice programs, according to a press release.

Rising Youth Theatre has also announced that Julio-Cesar Sauceda will step into the rose of general manager, joining the leadership team of the organization. Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Walker will continue in their roles as co-artistic directors, the press release stated.

The company’s work will continue to pair youth and adult artists together to create theatre that reflects young people’s stories and experiences in the greater Phoenix community.

“This is the third year that none of Rising Youth Theatre’s performances take place in a traditional theatre space,” Ms. Walker said in a prepared statement. “We are proud to invite our community to participate as audience members in locations they wouldn’t expect theatre to happen.”

This will include the fifth annual production of Light Rail Plays, along with a new project in partnership with the ACLU’s Demand 2 Learn Campaign, The Trouble Series.

The ideas behind this new season result from a collaborative process in which Rising Youth Theatre’s youth and adult artists came together to discuss the focus of the company’s projects, the press release stated.

The Light Rail Plays: December 2017

Rising Youth Theatre will return to public transportation for the fifth time with an all-new series of The Light Rail Plays. Partnering with Valley Metro, this project pairs young artists one-on-one with adult professional artists to create five-minute, two-person plays on and around the public transit system.

This year’s plays will focus on platform performances, and will travel across multiple Light Rail stops across the Valley Metro System. Using a wide range of theatrical elements, including music, dance, circus, and masks, this is a transformative community experience not to be missed.

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Trouble Series: The Play: April 2018

Trouble Series: The Play (working title) is a community-engaged theatre and dialogue project. Over the course of a year, an artistic ensemble of youth and adults will investigate and challenge the reasons why young people are pushed out of education as it impacts Arizona youth by creating learning opportunities and artistic exploration across a wide variety of community spaces.

The project is conducted in partnership with the ACLU’s Demand 2 Learn Campaign, engaging youth as both organizers and artists who can advocate for themselves and their peers in public spaces.

“The Trouble Series project will be created with the core belief that all students in Maricopa County have the right to learn in safe and supportive environments,” said Ms. Walker in a prepared statement.

“However, we know that many young people are denied this opportunity because of exclusionary policies and practices that systematically and disproportionately impact students of color and low-income students. We will use this unique theatre experience to not only research and learn, but to facilitate an important conversation in our communities.”

Rising Youth Theatre remains committed to creating plays that are accessible to the entire Valley community, the press release stated. All performances in the 2017-18 season will be presented to audiences on a donation basis, free to the public. There is never any cost for a young person to participate in a Rising Youth Theatre Program.

For young people and adult professional artists who are interested in getting involved this year, contact Rising Youth Theatre at RisingYouthTheatre.org or email info@RisingYouthTheatre.org.

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