History

Teens N Theater (TNT) originally known as Techites N Theater was founded in 2008 by a group of students and under the direction of Kia Folsom. TNT first began as an afterschool program at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. TNT’s first performance was in June of 2009 A McKinley Medley (a review of Broadway musicals). After its first successful show at McKinley the students and instructors took the summer off and began planning its next huge event. Beginning in the fall of 09’ the troupe regrouped with growing numbers and high interest rates. It was then announced that this year’s production would be Maliki Simba, an adaptation of Broadways The Lion King. With the assistance from students from Howard University’s Theater Department the students were wiped into training for their big production. TNT members worked as an assemble to build the set and costumes from scratch as they have done for years.

In May of 2010 the highest grossing performance by TNT was held at McKinley with standing ovations. During the summer of 10’ the students were asked to do a show for neighboring summer camps and local nursing homes, and with another successful show the name Techites N Theater was no longer relevant because in the year to come TNT would no longer be school affiliated. In the fall of 2010 Tech TNT officially became a non-profit organization and was renamed Teens N Theater. During the first year students held many events to raise money selling candy, car washes and the successful was our first annual walk-a-thon.

The program also decided that year to extend its services to other schools in the neighboring schools and more performers were found at William E Doar performing arts school. With all the money’s raised and all items created for the show, TNT performed for the first time as a non-profit at Howard University’s Ira Alridge Theater and A Night of Magic went down in history as TNT’s third performance. The following year Folsom began teaching at Wilson senior high school and where she was able to gather troupes and perform its first original piece Black in time written by TNT’s own Ayana Muhammad. During that summer, with all of the original cast members now graduated from High school and in or headed to college, Folsom now released her duties as director, choreographer, and vocal coach to her former students to direct a show of their own and in August of 2012 the musical Measured in loved (adaptation of Rent) under the direction of Lonnell Butler was performed at Wilson High Schools auditorium. From that summer on no longer was it required that Kia be there for every rehearsal she had now entrusted the success of program in the hands of the students who she had trained for years.

The following year was a celebration of 5 years of TNT performances and in the spring of 2013 an encore performance of Maliki Simba (The Lion King) was performed at HD Woodson High School. TNT then took an entire year off to plan for the summers ARTism show in august of 2014. In the summer of 2015 another original piece was selected from Kimberlyn Brewer The Story of the Traveling Shoes, which is set to premier in August of 2015. With the support of parents, family, friends and community support, Teens N Theater continues to thrive as an organization that’s geared towards providing excellent quality productions and also allowing its students a form of self-artistic expression.

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