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.


Blessing Gee (they/she) has been a part of Near West Theatre since 2017 when she started in the RISE! Program. Shortly after, they were in Xanadu! They have done 13 shows in total at Near West Theatre, and were recently seen in Bring it On: The Musical as Nautica. Blessing is currently a rising sophomore at Cleveland State University where she’s double majoring in Arts Management and Pre-Dentistry. When she’s not on stage or in school, Blessing enjoys thrifting and picking up on new crafts! Near West has been a huge part of Blessing’s life and has helped in shaping them into the artist they are today. 


Cassandra Miller (she/her) is a senior at Cleveland State University with a discipline in Theatre and Dance. Cassandra has been performing throughout northeast Ohio for nearly a decade. She has been so blessed to grace the stages of Tower City, Mamai Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre, and KaramuTheatre (during their historical100 year celebration). Her current work includes devised pieces: Life Interrupted and Womanhood. Choreographic work in Jungle Book Kids and Ancestra at Cleveland State University. She is an Irene Ryan nominee and finalist for her work as Vera in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.  Cassandra has worked as a Teaching Artist for Cleveland Public Theatre’s CMHA CAN Academy. She is a current company member of Blakk Jakk Dance Collective and grateful to be able to be a part of the Cleveland theatre community.

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