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Richmond teens tackle dating violence — through theater

Photo taken by Molly Raynor
Cast of "Fairytale," a production of RYSE Youth Center

At the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, there are classes in music, video production, visual arts, writing and acting. Every year, all the students come together to create a multimedia show, and they're the ones in charge of the whole event, from the concept to the actual production.  

GEMIKIA HENDERSON: "We try to make them as comfortable as possible, but we tell them, 'You are playing a character that has done that, you are not that person.'"

KALW’s Jen Chien sat down with RYSE Center’s Performing Arts Coordinator Molly Raynor and lead playwright Gemikia Henderson. She spoke to them about this year’s show, “Fairytale." 

“Fairytale” will show from May 14-15 at the El Cerrito Performing Arts Theater.

Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.