© 2021 KALW
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Richmond's rich cultural past inspires youth theater "Renaissance" today

Agana Espinoza for RYSE Youth Center

Picture this: It’s the 1940s in North Richmond, California. The city is home to juke joints filled with the sounds of music. This is the setting for the new play Richmond Renaissance – written and performed by the youth at RYSE Center in Richmond.

Playwright DeAndre Evans and director Donte Clark hope this multimedia theatrical performance can counter the narrative of poverty and brutality in Richmond by highlighting the community’s rich cultural past.


CLARK: It's mostly focusing on those connections that we have, and how we have to be accountable to each other no matter those obstacles in any time period. Because, this play takes place in 1949, but it mirrors 2017, 2015, 2012. So it really hasn't changed much.

Richmond Renaissance is opening this weekend at El Cerrito High School Performing Arts Theater. For more information, click here



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.