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VIDEO: Tuscon's Acting Innocent Theatre Company, a Teen Performing Arts Collective


The more technology continues providing a variety of less expensive entertainment options, the more live theatre must contend with the growing need to attract younger audience members. While performing arts companies certainly appreciate their older, long-time subscribers, the need to attract new members who will be regular customers for years is often a struggle.

So one of the things so refreshing about Tucson, Arizona's Acting Innocent Theatre Company, is that it was created by teenagers attending Catalina Foothills High School with the intention of presenting live theater directed towards their contemporaries, with affordable ticket prices, plays that deal with issues faced by their peers and post-performance discussions.

"We are looking at shows that have a social implication and that we can talk about afterwards, and taking it a step further by donating profits to charities," the company's founding artistic director, 18-year-old Griffin Johnston, tells the Arizona Daily Star.

The company debuted in February at Tucson's Community Playhouse with Bert V. Royal's DOG SEES GOD: CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE BLOCKHEAD, which was seen Off-Broadway in 2005. The unauthorized parody depicts the characters from Charles M Schulz's classic comic strip "Peanuts" as rebellious teenagers facing a wide range of social issues.

Their stage adaptation of Deborah Zoe Laufer's LEVELING UP addresses teens' current obsession with mobile technology, online gaming and social media. After an April 14th preview, the play opens the next evening and runs through May 1st.


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