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RYSE brings “Fairytale” about teen dating violence to the stage

on May 13, 2016

Love and heartache are coming back to center stage in Richmond.

The Richmond-based nonprofit RYSE is producing Fairytale, a theater production, this weekend in El Cerrito. Fairytale is the second theatrical production from RYSE, following on the heels of their success from the 2013 production of Te’s Harmony. RYSE’s mission, according to their website,  is to “create safe spaces grounded in social justice that build youth power for young people to love, learn, educate, heal and transform the lives and communities.”

Te’s Harmony was a modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and Fairytale also gives a modern twist to an old story. The plot revolves around its two central characters, Briella (played by Kabreshiona Smith) and Princeton (played by Shivneel Sen). After years of waiting for her “Prince Charming,” Briella has to learn some very difficult lessons to save herself from the toxic physical and verbal abuse of her new love. According to the press release, “the show explores the fantasies around love and relationships we project onto each other and how they come crumbling down when faced with the realities of gender stereotypes, teen dating violence and rape culture.”

This newest production is written, performed and directed by Richmond youth. Donté Clark is the center’s Performing Arts Producer and Nya McDowell works as the RYSE studio manager. Clark is the artistic director of this production and McDowell is music director. McDowell is one of the main characters, playing “Queen Mother Rhythm,” the fairy godmother. Gemikia Henderson is the lead playwright.

McDowell and Clark recently returned from Washington DC where they attended the Brioxy White House Summit for Innovators of Color. Clark was the Poet Laureate of Richmond in 2014 and was also featured in a 2015 Documentary, Romeo is Bleeding which aired in film festivals nationwide.
Fairytale will performed for two nights only at the El Cerrito Performing Arts Theater (540 Ashbury Avenue), Saturday, May 14 (6:00-8:00 PM) and Sunday, May 15 (4:00-6:00 PM). Tickets are available online at: Rates for groups of 10 or more are available by contacting Tavae Samuelu at This production is intended for mature audiences aged 13 and over.


  1. […] RYSE brings “Fairytale” about teen dating violence to the stage (Richmond Confidential) […]

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