#BlackLivesMatter in TYA: ALL AMERICAN BOYS as a resource for Young People & Families

TYA/USA believes that theater can play an important role in helping young people and families explore personal narratives to face hard truths and inspire meaningful change. Last year, TYA/USA kicked off the 2019 Festival & Conference with a reading of a powerful new work that urgently speaks to our current moment. Today, we are making it available to you and your communities as a resource.

We are partnering with Off The Page, The Alliance Theatre, and Playscripts to officially release the script and video recording of the stage adaptation of ALL AMERICAN BOYS (based on the book by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely) as one way to use theater for young audiences as a vehicle to confront systemic racism, police violence, and its impact on young people across this country.

ALL AMERICAN BOYS, a new TYA play based on the best-selling book, is the story of the violent arrest of a Black teenager, the white teenager who witnesses it, and how it impacts their communities over the course of a week.

ALL AMERICAN BOYS Adapted for the stage by Jody Drezner Alperin & Vicky Finney Crouch

Based on the book by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Originally Developed by Off The Page

This video of a staged reading of Off The Page’s adaptation of ALL AMERICAN BOYS was filmed at The Alliance Theatre in May 2019 as part of the TYA/USA National Festival & Conference.

In light of recent events, we are releasing this video as a resource to spark conversation around racism and police violence among young people and families.


The adaptation of ALL AMERICAN BOYS is now published through Playscripts. For the rest of the summer, Playscripts is partnering with Off The Page and TYA/USA to offer the script for free for young people, families, and communities to read.

Read the Script for Free HERE 


This resource guide, co-created by Off The Page and Takiema Bunche Smith (President, Anahsa Educational Consulting), is offered for deeper engagement around the script and video above.


Photo & Video Credit: Sara Keith Studios

Statement from TYA/USA

Theatre for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA) will not remain silent as we continue to experience the emergency of systemic racism. We grieve the senseless and unjust killing of George Floyd, and the countless others who have lost their lives to injustice and police brutality. Black lives matter, and children need to be included in the conversation in order to make change.

The TYA community must recognize that we play a vital role in shaping the narrative through the stories we tell and those we don’t tell to young people across the nation. Young people of color have been consistently underrepresented in all content created for kids and families. They need to be reflected and celebrated on our stages. In addition to denouncing racism and violence against people of color in our communities, our field needs to look inward. We need to invest in and champion more artists of color, reflect the diversity of our communities in our organizational staff and boards, and use the stage to demonstrate our values. How do we ensure that the stories we tell develop empathy, build bridges, and communicate that the lives of our children of color matter?

TYA/USA recommits to galvanizing our national network to create the systemic changes needed to fight for justice and demand change. Our young people deserve better than the world we are offering them, and it is our job to help rewrite the story.