Formed in 2005 in Central New Jersey, Seven Stories Theatre Company began as New Mystics Theatre Company with the idea that the best way to engage young people about socially relevant issues (drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, violence, bullying, etc.) was to create peer-to-peer presentations, both interactive workshops as well as plays, that were honest, well-written, and that refrained from saying “Because we say so” or in any way discounting the intelligence or feelings of their target audience.
In order to fulfill this mission, we knew we had to create a true Ensemble of the best young actors we could find, teaching them not only the essentials of socially relevant theatre but training them to meet the high demands required of the scripts and interactive workshops we were creating. Having formed an acting school, Actor’s Playground, at the same time, we incorporated our techniques and applied new ones to reach our goal.
The New Jersey company, which now operates as the Playground Theatre Project has had as many as thirty-five members (ranging in age from 9-40), and has toured dozens of schools, reaching over 17,000 young people from elementary, middle, and high schools.
Over the years, we have created a highly specialized training program that emphasizes not only the best theatre techniques but also helps to train good citizens and artists who not only perform but teach, direct, judge competitions, and act as mentors.
In 2009 we formed a second theatre company in West Virginia using these same principles. This talented Ensemble has performed several of our shows and conducted workshops on bullying and violence prevention to schools and other organizations and in 2011 won an award for Innovative Theatre from the Marion County Commission on the Arts and Humanities.