Youth Underground Touring Shows

Youth Underground (YU) is Central Square Theater’s resident performance ensemble consisting of economically and culturally diverse Cambridge, Boston, & Greater Boston youth. YU uses the model of investigative theater to collect stories, share diverse perspectives with the community, and spark dialogue about important issues. YU creates and performs original theater that examines social issues relevant to young people and our world. All plays are co-created by both the YU Delegates (ages 13-18) and Ambassadors (ages 19-25). 

YU touring performances:

  • Are performed by YU Ambassadors
  • Are a customized 45- to 60-minute experience for your community
  • Include excerpts from an original YU play, followed by an interactive discussion between the performers and the audience
  • Can be in-person or virtual
  • Can take place at Central Square Theater in Cambridge, or at your site
  • Are available from October 2023 – June 2024 
  • Are best suited for middle school, high school, and college students; educators and other adults who work with youth; families; and intergenerational/mixed age audiences.

Plays available this year include:

Act Up & Vote!

Theme: Voting and Civic Engagement 

Never in our recent history has the outcome of our hard-earned right to vote been as critical as it is today. In the current divisive political climate, young voters are often choosing not to participate. Act Up & Vote! amplifies the voices of urban youth in our community as well as their families, teachers, political leaders, and personal heroes as they share life stories, debate about whether their votes matter, and work to make a better world. Following each performance, YU can facilitate voter registration and pre-registration for youth ages 16+.

Curiosity is easier to land on than Hope 

Theme: LGBTQ+ Rights 

Curiosity is easier to land on than Hope, is a work of investigative theater that explores the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ identity, rights, and acceptance. Created over a six-week intensive with youth in the summer of 2022 and further developed throughout the next year, dozens of interviews with community members inspire these stories of the ongoing process of growing up, finding community, and the tensions and love between generations. This play invites audiences to reflect on the past, and look, curiously, toward the future. 

Here and There 

Theme: Immigration 

Here and There portrays real stories of individuals and families who have come to Massachusetts from all over the world. The play was created from interviews, focus groups, and conversations with a diverse population, including students and families, educators, artists, non-profit advocates, legal advisors, and other individuals who immigrated to the U.S., whether recently or generations ago. Here and There strives to amplify these voices that so often go unheard as they share reflections about navigating unfamiliar cultures, building community, and making a new place called home. 


Theme: Youth Mental Health 

Recovery is drawn from interviews with YU teens and members of their community, exploring the theme of youth mental health. Recovery considers questions like, “Why do we only address mental health when there’s a crisis?”, “Why do adults often seem dismissive or unprepared for youth mental health challenges?”, and “How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the mental health of youth?”. 

Circle Up! 

Theme: The Academic Achievement Gap (aka the Opportunity Gap)

Circle Up! investigates the issues of equity and injustice that have created the “Achievement Gap” and the barriers that maintain it. The achievement gap is a persistent disparity in the academic outcomes between groups of students, especially groups defined by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and gender. This difference in performance is caused by structural inequality and has lifelong effects on students. Circle Up! gives us a chance to hear the voices of real urban high school students, and the educators who work with them, as they share reflections about the effects of opportunity gaps on their everyday lives.

To book a Youth Underground performance at Central Square Theater or in your Community, contact Kevin Williams at