Many new youth joined the cast of the 2015 Teens Together Summer Touring Ensemble last June. The 15-member ensemble and two teaching artists performed 29 shows in ten different locations. In order to engage audiences more intimately, Storycatchers staged all performances in-the-round, presenting a new challenge for the young actors which the Ensemble met with consistent discipline and excellence. More than 1,100 audience members enjoyed the tour of the original one-act musical, Love Is A Super Power. The show’s original songs provided many opportunities for solo performances, as well as giving the actors incentive to explore and expand their vocal skills.

Love Is A Super Power told the story of several teens preparing to perform a musical at the Celebration of Local Heroes Ceremony on Labor Day. While the group brainstormed possible nominees for the 2015 Local Hero Award, two summer camp participants, Joey and Deon, dreamed of saving their families through the heroic stories they planned to tell. Truth took them on an unexpected journey, and they had to learn the true meaning of heroism and its roots in love.

The show explored what it means to be a hero and how to ask for help when needed. The script for the 2015 summer show ended on a cliffhanger, leaving the characters in a state of emergency. Storycatchers utilized this to engage audiences in post-show discussions and to encourage the youth who attended the performances to explore their decision-making processes as well as how to recognize when they need to seek help from an adult.

Work on the 2015-16 Summer Musical has already begun, and new teaching artists have joined the Teens Together Playwriting Ensemble team! Cheryl Coons and Columbia College student Ashlyn Wheeler join Aimee Stahlberg and Justin Callis every Saturday at Columbia College Chicago from mid-September through the end of April. This year the group is exploring the cost of holding grudges and the process of forgiving.

The Ensemble will present a staged reading of their work-in-progress on Saturday, December 19, 2015 at 1 p.m. in Stage Two on the Columbia Campus.