Rising Youth Theatre Thunderbirds Charities

Rising Youth Theatre’s Arts Leadership Program Receives Grant from Thunderbirds Charities

Rising Youth Theatre is proud to announce a grant of $10,000 from Thunderbirds Charities, received in December 2020 in support of its Arts Leadership Program. This is a transformative gift for Rising Youth Theatre, who continues to reach, connect, and collaborate with hundreds of young people during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Founded in 2011, Rising Youth Theatre is a youth leadership organization that uses theatre and story to position young people in advocacy spaces. The company works with young people and professional adult artists to create socially relevant, original plays that have a positive impact on our community. Our work starts in the community – hearing stories, participating in dialogue, doing research, and engaging young people around a topic. While our process of making theatre looks different this year, these programs are more critical than ever. Hundreds of young people are engaging in transformative arts experiences alongside professional adult artist collaborators. Young people are at the center of the organization’s decision making and growth. And, particularly significant at this moment – all young people who participate in the program are paid for their time. As Transforming Artistic Collaborator Quinn Pursell explained “young people are particularly impacted by the pandemic, especially those of us who were working as artists. We are really proud that we’re able to pay all of our artists, youth and adults, and grant support allows us to continue to do that so we can take care of our people.”

Support from Thunderbirds Charities ensures that Rising Youth Theatre is able to continue to support artists and young people working in the community. It allows us to provide ongoing virtual space for young people to check in and connect, to adapt our artistic practice to the current time, and continue to create art with and for youth in Phoenix that responds to the world we are living in. As Producing Artistic Collaborator Sarah Sullivan explained, “Thunderbirds Charities was one of the first local funders to believe in and support Rising Youth Theatre’s work, when we were just beginning as an organization. As we have continued to grow and thrive, despite the challenges of COVID-19, it is especially meaningful to receive this increased support.”

Current projects supported by these programs include:

Original Virtual Productions: Rising Youth Theatre’s unique creative process has been adapted for the current time. An original theatre experience, Face to Face, about the intersections of race, class, and age, is being presented in January 2021 as a series of virtual performance engagements, and another project, Keysmash; about youth mental health, will begin development in spring 2021.

Apprentice Program and Ongoing Youth Leadership: Rising Youth Theatre’s programs are particularly thriving in this area. One of our strengths as an organization is our ability to focus on deep relationship building and making space for collective leadership. The organization has made space for young people to be leaders and decision makers as we navigate this challenging time, and that has led us to better, more meaningful work. Young people are working and paid for their time and expertise) at every level of the organization, and the company takes a collaborative approach, with youth and adults working together and learning from each other every step of the way.

Safe Community Spaces: Rising Youth Theatre provides regular virtual space for young people to check in and connect, as well as receive access to resources when needed.

It is because of the support of funders like Thunderbirds Charities that Rising Youth Theatre has continued to thrive, even during this challenging time.

Rising Youth Theatre

This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees.