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NewsDepth A+: Performers Rise to the Challenge

This week's NewsDepth A+ Award goes to a group of young actors from Cleveland's Near West Theatre for creating a performance by youth and for youth.

What happens when you give the stage to kids with virtually no rules? The New West Theatre's newest production Rise: The Isolation Project is the answer. 

A group of 35 actors in grades six through 12th from a dozen different schools in Northeast Ohio wrote and performed the show. It tells the story of how the Coronavirus Pandemic, the quarantine, the Black Lives Matter Movement and other social matters have impacted their lives since March.  

The students share their stories, their hopes and their experiences. 

Artistic Director Trinidad Snider had only good things to say.

“We have so much to learn from these amazing young artists,” Snider said. “I am so excited for our community, their families and our supporters because what they are about to experience will hopefully challenge and enlighten them and prove a sense of hope knowing that these incredible humans will one day rule the world.” 

Near West Theatre's Executive Director Mike Obertcz said just because the play is written and performed by youth does not mean it cannot teach adults a thing or two!

“I am honored we have been able to provide this platform so they may share their insightful view of the state of our current society,” Obertcz said.

When the show debuted, it was only available for streaming to make sure that the audience and actors were safe and socially distanced. Now, it's headed to the Near West Theatre Stage as the first show in its 2020-21 season. 

This week's NewsDepth A+ goes to the youth cast of the Near West Theatre for writing and producing an original show that tells us about their experiences during the pandemic. Bravo!

Submit your ideas for our NewsDepth A+ segment to newsdepth@ideastream.org for consideration.