Arizona Teens Launch Independent Theater Company to Rave Reviews

By Philip Trapp on Apr 10, 2016 07:56 PM EDT

A group of Arizona high school students have started their own performing arts collective, Acting Innocent Theatre Company. The young thespians' entrepreneurial endeavor is drawing much acclaim for their debut production, Dog Sees God.

Hailing from Tucson, Arizona, the team of entertainers emerged from Catalina Foothills High School. Basing their shows out of Tucson's Community Playhouse, the troupe's initial run of performances ran for three weekends in February, attracting around 350 audience members.

The organization's inaugural play, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, is a satirical drama from Off-Broadway director Bert V. Royal. The unauthorized parody imagines characters from popular comic strip Peanuts as rebellious teenagers, covering a wide range of social topics.

Acting Innocent's founding artistic director, 18-year-old Griffin Johnston, told the Arizona Daily Star of the company's intention to entertain young audiences while tackling serious teenage issues, giving a portion of proceeds to relevant causes:

"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 group's new production opens next week. An adaptation of Deborah Zoe Laufer's Leveling Up, the play addresses teens' current obsession with mobile technology, online gaming and social media.

The presentation promises to continue the young company's message of social awareness within an entertaining theatrical production. According to the Tuscon Stage blog, the consortium plan to take future showings outside the theater circuit in their continuing mission of youth education:

"Acting Innocent aims to appeal to a wide range of audience demographics while also working to ignite artistic passion among young adults by visiting schools and performing material which any generation can connect with."

Acting Innocent's Leveling Up previews this Thursday, April 14th at 7:30 p.m. Showings begin on Friday and continue the next three weekends. All performances occur at Tucson's Community Playhouse. Tickets available at the door and online.

Below, watch the troupe's self-produced, introductory video. Let us know what you think of the Tucson teen theater collective in the comments section below; we'd love to hear from you.

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TagsActing Innocent, Acting Innocent Theatre Company, Tucson, Arizona

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