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Young Audiences theater group examines impacts of gun violence

Bill DeYoung

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Tampa’s ThinkTank Theatre for Young Audiences has forged an allegiance with a nationwide movement to prevent gun violence through the presentation of thought-provoking works by young playwrights.

Wednesday evening at Stageworks Theatre, in the downtown Channelside district, ThinkTank will produce staged readings of eight short plays.

It’s part of #ENOUGH, which began staged readings, via Zoom because of the pandemic, in 2020.  #ENOUGH received 184 10-minute plays from teen writers nationwide in its first-ever Call for Submissions that spring.

The seven plays ultimately chosen confronted gun violence through the lenses of race, police brutality, community violence, school shootings and more. They were read simultaneously by 50 communities in 25 states.

The 2022 playwrights and their works: McKennzie Boyd (Southside Summer), Arianna Brumfield (Allegiance), Willa Colleary (Rehearsal), Anya Jiménez (It’s Okay), Taylor Lafayette (Salted Lemonade), Tain Leonard-Peck (In My Sights), Cameron Thiesing (Undo, Redo), and Wyn Alyse Thomas (Write Their Wrongs).

“I think adults have been talking about it for far too long, and we haven’t really listened to what young people have to say about (gun violence),” said ThinkTank director Georgia Mallory Guy. “And sometimes young people don’t have the best way to express themselves. They have so many things they want to say, and they don’t know how to cohesively do it.

“And that’s what I love about this program; it does exactly what I feel like the arts are supposed to do. It allows you to put the way you feel into words. I think it’s a really beautiful component of letting young people express themselves in theater.”

Wednesday will mark the 23rd anniversary of the Columbine High School tragedy. Theater groups across the country will perform the eight newest selections, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET, for a total of 66 readings in 31 states.

“ThinkTank’s mission is to showcase works that directly reflect the lives of young people and their families in today’s society,” Guy said. “These short plays do exactly that. I am hopeful we will have a Tampa Bay playwright in the mix of next year’s nation reading.”

Bay area performers are Marie-Claude Tremblay, Cranstan Cumberbatch, Jadon Milne, Noah Perez, Kaylee Tupper Miller, Haley Janeda, Shelby Ronea and Lance Felton

Admission to Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. Stageworks performance is Pay What You Can/Pay if You Can (suggested donation is $5 students, $10 adults). Seats can be reserved here.

According to Guy, sections of the material are not appropriate for children under 10.

 

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