RISE! is a FREE program for students and artists, ages 7 to 15, who want to strengthen their theatrical skills, discover hidden talents, and build long-lasting friendships through transformational arts experiences. No experience necessary!

Under the leadership of teaching artists, students in the program will learn the basics of theatre, vocal work, and movement while working as a team, gaining confidence, finding their own voice! In the spring, students will audition, rehearse and perform Disney's Frozen Jr. in our new Black Box Theatre! 

Registration for Fall 2023 has closed. Please contact Amani Green at with any questions.

Monday through Thursday from 4:00 - 6:00 PM

October 2 - December 7, 2023

January 29 - May 5, 2024

Show Dates:

Thursday, May 2nd at 7:00 PM

Friday, May 3rd at 7:00 PM

Saturday, May 4th at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM

Sunday, May 5th at 2:00 PM

Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez Book by Jennifer Lee Based on the Disney film written by Jennifer Lee and directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee DISNEY’S FROZEN JR is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

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In addition to a focus on creative skillsets, RISE! helps students to grow and develop socially and emotionally. Teaching artists focus on supporting youth through this journey and the outcomes from recent sessions demonstrate this impact.

  • 90% reported feeling comfortable speaking in front of others after the program
  • 90% reported being able to calm themselves down when upset as a result of the program
  • 88% of participants reported feeling more confident when participating in the program
  • 80% reported of participants feel confident in meeting new people as a result of the program
  • 70% reported increased confidence in their dancing and singing skills

This program serves all participants, but recent sessions have helped us to reach participants that are traditionally underserved by the arts.

  • 85% are non-white
  • 55% are multiracial
  • 35% of participants are from low-income households
  • 90% are City of Cleveland residents (25% share NWT's zip code: 44102)



Amani Green (she/her) is the lead teaching artist for the RISE! Program. She grew up in Cairo, Egypt, and has a bachelor's and master's degree in psychology from Stanford University. She has been involved in several casts and production teams of shows at Near West Theatre since 2017. Part of why she loves Near West Theatre is its commitment to its youth participants. She previously worked in higher education prior to her role as Program Manager at Near West Theatre. She is very excited to work with the students in this program! Please contact Amani at with any questions about afterschool programming.


Carlos Cruz (he/they) is a Cleveland-born, San Lorenzo, Puerto Rican-raised actor and teaching artist who has collaborated to develop and perform educational theatre works all over NEO and Puerto Rico. They have performed with Near West Theatre, The Beck Center, Karamu House, Cleveland Playhouse, and many other organizations. Carlos has taught theatre making to folks ages 5 and up in an array of disciplines including improv, writing, monologues, scene work, movement, and voice; however, their focus is musical theatre techniques. Carlos has a deep belief that the tools for making theatre should be accessible to everyone. It has been a joy spreading their love for the creative process by working with both like and differing-minded artists. Carlos learns just as much from their students as they hope their students learn from them.


Quinlan Owens (they/he) is a college student majoring in theater at Colgate University, with extensive theatrical experience in academic, community, and professional settings. They have been a performer in productions at Near West theater since 2018, and worked as a RISE! youth mentor from 2019-2020. Their most recent theatrical projects have included performing in university plays, as well as assistant directing two new off-Broadway shows in Summer 2022. They are excited to be rejoining the Near West community and rejoining the RISE! program as they move forward in their career as a performer and teaching artist.

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