Gun Control, Suicide, and School Violence Explored in Rise – Coming to Hero Theater

Hero Theatre presents the world premiere of Rise: An Immersive Exploration of Gun Violence in Schools a new work exploring themes of anti-gun violence, anti-suicide, and gun control for high school youth.

Hero Theatre is a social justice, community-based company that uses art to model and bring about social and environmental justice.

Their production of Rise: An Immersive Exploration of Gun Violence in Schools, is an immersive, site-specific piece devised and directed by Director and Game Designer Jack McCarthy.

Jack McCarthy is an award-winning immersive director, producer, and themed entertainment professional living in Los Angeles. He has designed escape rooms and immersive experiences for clients in 18 countries, including experiences for graduate school instruction, corporate team building, and influencer product marketing.

The production will open on Saturday, September 3rd, at Silverlake’s Micheltorena Street Elementary School, where performances will continue weekends through September 18th. This is the first full production in Hero Ignite, a new program at Hero Theatre that serves as a labfor new works created and inspired by the voices of America’s youth. 

In Rise, audience members will become active participantsin a school lockdown. This fictional account, inspired by actual events, explores themes related to gun violence in schools. By being presented in a real school classroom, Rise gives a candid look at what youth in America face today.

The Cast includes Hero Theatre company members Ashley Busenlener, Joseph Henderson, Ephraim Lopez, Julia Stier, as well as newcomers Malick Ceesay, Elizabeth Kelly, Liviera Lim, Jackie Lopez, and Jacob Salazar.

The Creative Team includes Set and Properties Designer Kevin Bean and Sound Designer JJ Margolis. The Costume Team consists of Maggie Dick as Costume Designer and Daniela Perez as Assistant Costume Designer. C.J. Craig will be Assistant Director, and Ashley Weaver will Stage Manage.

“RISE was a play we were scheduled to do before the pandemic. I had seen a play that Jack McCarthy directed at The Hollywood Fringe. I was impressed at how incredibly precise his work was for being an emerging director. We met, and I asked if he could develop a piece about young people and gun violence for Hero Theatre. We had just created Hero Ignite, a new branch of the company focusing on young voices in America. RISE brings up a lot of strong emotions inme. I am a teacher, specifically of high-school students. We have a student ambassador group of young women who participate in the play’s community engagement process. We include their voices every step of the way. I am deeply looking forward to exploring this in an immersive environment,” states Producing Artistic Director Elisa Bocanegra.

Performances of Rise take place Saturdays at 12:00 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.from Saturday, September 3rd through Sunday, September 18th. There will be two previews, on Saturday, August 27th, and Sunday, August 28th at 2:30 p.m. Tickets to all performances except previews are $35; tickets to previews are $25Rise will perform at Micheltorena Street Elementary in Silverlake at 1511 Micheltorena St., Los Angeles, CA 90026.

To purchase tickets and for more information, call (323206-6415 or go to

Author: Keri Freeman

Military mom and proud parent, artist, writer, musician and film maker. Cocktail connoisseur. Publisher of DTLA Weekly.

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