Student-written plays sparking conversations on gun violence

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Nine Arizona students are playing key roles in a national short play competition for middle and high school students. The plays are designed to spark conversations about gun violence. For more, we spoke with Jazmine Roth, Arizona Theatre Company’s (ATC) learning and education director, and Faith Santos, a student, and actor.

#ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence

““#ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence”, is a national movement to encourage young people to write plays on how to combat gun violence and to produce plays to use as young people, as theatre activists to speak to this issue that is really affecting our communities,” Roth said. Santos added that it is not peculiar to see activism in the theater.

The movement is also a competition judged by a committee of professional playwrights. Seven student-written plays will be produced at regional theaters across the country and be put together as a collection on Broadway On Demand.

Student development

Santos, who plays a college friend in “Malcolm” said, “I think it is very important, especially in community theaters to talk about it, [and] open up to an audience that is definitely living in that issue.” Santos said she was used to being told how a character should be, but this opportunity allowed her to develop a more personal relationship with the character she played.

The pandemic closed the theater program at Santos’ school, which led her to join ATC to develop her skills. ATC offers free programs for students age 13-19 with locations in Phoenix and Tucson. Currently, the program operates online, opening up recruitment to the entire state or even beyond, said Roth.

“There is so much you get from a theater education background,” said Roth noting the confidence, communications, and arts development for students.

The winning plays are available on the streaming platform Broadway On Demand beginning December 14, which is the 8-year remembrance of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Jasmine Roth Learning and Education Director, Arizona Theatre Company; Faith Santos, Student Actor

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