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Steppenwolf for Young Adults presents ‘The Burn’

Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) is proud to produce the world premiere of “The Burn,” written by acclaimed Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins and directed by Devon de Mayo. Featuring a cast of professional actors, “The Burn” addresses the bullying and social media issues that many teens experience in school. Performances for “The Burn” are scheduled February 14 through March 3, 2018 in the Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. in Chicago.

Mercedes is an outsider. Tara makes sure she knows it. When a high school production of “The Crucible” forces them together, tensions escalate into acts of bullying—both online and IRL. This world premiere play explores what happens to a teacher and his students when a classroom conflict turns into an online witch-hunt.

Following its four-week run at Steppenwolf and working in collaboration with Storycatchers Theatre, Steppenwolf for Young Adults will tour its production of “The Burn” for a week to three Juvenile Justice Facilities in Illinois. Storycatchers Theatre, winner of the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, guides young people to transform their traumatic experiences into powerful musical theatre, developing the courage and vision to become leaders and mentors. By creating support for youth within the criminal justice system, Storycatchers prepares them to change their lives and emerge successfully from court involvement.

Building on the success of last year’s collaboration with Storycatchers, during which Steppenwolf for Young Adults brought its production of Monster to three Juvenile Justice Facilities in Illinois, this tour will provide detained and incarcerated youth a chance to see the production and share their stories with professional artists involved with the play.

Playwright Philip Dawkins shares, “Working with Steppenwolf for Young Adults in partnership with Storycatchers is a true privilege for me. I’ve been a fan of both groups for quite some time, and I’m so lucky to be working with such excellent, quality-minded leaders in putting young people’s stories on stage.”

Philip Dawkins is a Chicago playwright and educator. His play “Charm,” recently received its New York premiere at MCC in Fall 2017. His plays include “The Happiest Place on Earth” (Side Show Theatre/Greenhouse Theater Center); “Le Switch” (About Face Theatre, The Jungle), “Charm” (Northlight Theatre), “Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living” (Strawdog Theatre), “The Homosexuals” (About Face Theater) and the musical adaptation of Dr.Seuss’s “The Sneetches” with composer David Mallamud (Children’s Theater Company, Minneapolis). He teaches playwriting at Northwest University, Loyola University Chicago and through the Victory Gardens ACCESS Program.

“The Burn” cast features Birgundi Baker (Tara), Nina Ganet (Andi), Phoebe González (Mercedes), Erik Hellman (Erik) and Dyllan Rodrigues-Miller (Shauna).

“The Burn” production team includes Courtney O’Neill (scenic design), Melissa Ng (costume design), Heather Sparling (lighting design), Sarah Ramos (sound design) and Rasean Davonte Johnson (projection design). Other credits include Hallie Gordon (artistic producer), JC Clementz (casting director) and Brian Maschka (stage manager). Hallie Gordon is the Artistic Director of Steppenwolf for Young Adults.

Steppenwolf is proud to present its inaugural Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly performance for “The Burn” at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 10. Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly performanc- es feature a more relaxed environment and minor adjustments to sensory effects such as lighting and sound cues. This performance is designed to be accessible for guests (and their companions!) who may include (but are not limited to) individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as those with sensory processing and/or integration sensitivities.

Steppenwolf for Young Adults is provided by Allstate Insurance Company, Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Polk Bros. Foundation and United Airlines. Steppenwolf for Young Adults is also supported in part by contributions from The Crown Family, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Northern Trust Company, Field Foundation of Illinois, Dr. Scholl Foundation, the Helen Brach Foundation, ITW Foundation, Siragusa Foundation, Colonel Stanley R. McNeil Foundation, Citi Private Bank and Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc; as well as Steppenwolf Associates, a community of dynamic young professionals. Steppenwolf Education is a citywide partner of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) School Partner Program.

Steppenwolf Education’s unique approach combines play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families. Every season Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) creates two full-scale professional productions specifically for teens.

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