Teen Programs

Four current programs for teens tap into the power of students’ own creativity and explore issues of identity and self-worth.

Our Teen Programs provide opportunities for youth to inspire positive change in their communities by:

  • Employing youth as artist-activists to create powerful art for the community
  • Exploring issues such as sexual and dating violence, bullying, domestic strife, the environment and making healthy choices
  • Teaching coping strategies to teens across Central Texas and beyond.
A finalist for the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, selected by the President’s Committee on the Arts.

30 Participants Max  |  2 Meetings each Week (4-6 Hours per week)

In partnership with Safeplace since 2003, Creative Action employs up to 30 young people ages 14-18 as artist-activists who tour area middle schools with original theatre addressing teen dating, domestic violence, cyberbullying, sexism, homophobia and more. More than 3,000 youth see their show each year.

In 2012, the ensemble was the subject of a documentary produced by local PBS station KLRU and toured out of state for the first time, performing for 600 people in San Francisco at the National Conference on Health Care and Domestic Violence in March of 2012, sponsored by Futures Without Violence.


Watch the 2015 performance, Breaking up with Ever After, below!  Breaking Up with Ever After was created by teens and for teens to address the unrealistic expectations that fairy tales teach us about relationships, especially the idea that we’ll magically meet our one true love and simply live “Happily Ever After.” The play investigates how people now use social media to tell the world a perfect love story, a modern romantic fairy tale, leaving out the difficult parts.

Read more here: Changing Lives Blog.

Submit Request for Changing Lives Ensemble

Changing Lives gives you good self confidence. It gives you the courage to stand up to people. It is a really good experience to be able to work with people and not be running the show yourself. I learned how to collaborate and take other people ideas into consideration. I know who to talk to and how to approach [a bullying] situation. It’s just a good experience.

– Greg, 18, Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble alumnus




To put the powerful tools of peer education and theatre in the hands of youth and adults who want to encourage healthy relationships among young adults.

After participating in Changing Lives, youth will:

  • Significantly increase knowledge/recognition of indicators of violent/healthy relationships.
  • Gain improved self-confidence.
  • Demonstrate improved presentation/communication skills.
  • Develop skills to support healthy relationships among peers through discussion, support and thoughtful intervention.
  • Establish strong professional skills and habits.


Themes and Skills

  • Post-Secondary Education
  • Anti-Bullying, Cyberbullying
  • Literacy
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Leadership
  • Social and Emotional Literacy
  • Social Justice
  • Anti-Homophobia
  • Friendship / Family
  • Theatre Arts
  • Digital Media
  • Writing Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Youth Cinema Collective

18 Participants Max  |  14-19 years old | 2 Meetings per Week (6.5 hours per week)


In conjunction with Alamo Drafthouse, Youth Cinema Collective is a robust program for teens passionate about film. Students ages 14-19 sharpen their skills both as filmmakers and scholars by producing original content and exploring global film history and theory. Through repertory screenings and discussions with film experts, Youth Cinema Collective focuses in on film’s ability to give voice to the voiceless.


30 Participants Max  |  14-18 years old | 2 Projects Produced Each Year

A collective of young artists ages 14-18 work under the guidance of professional artists to research, design, and install murals, sculptures and public art that transforms neglected public spaces into places of beauty, reflection, and inspiration.  Students also produce an artistic portfolio of original work.

Projects demand teamwork from start to finish, strengthening students’ social and emotional skills as they deeply engage with the city and its neighborhood history. Each member of the squad is paid for the work of designing and creating beauty across the Austin area.

To apply, fill out this form. **We ask that you please submit 2 – 4 images of your work to colorsquad@creativeaction.org***

Color Squad recently helped restore the Greetings from Austin mural on S. 1st Street. Contact colorsquad@creativeaction.org for more information about the program.




To empower youth as artist-activists.

After participating in Color Squad, youth will:

  • significantly increase knowledge of mural techniques and social purpose of murals/public art
  • gain improved self-confidence
  • demonstrate improved collaboration/communication skills
  • develop skills to support artistic development
  • establish strong professional skills and habits based on paid employment model

Additional Programs

New Stages

New Stages fosters artistic expression for personal and community growth to young people in a phase of juvenile detention.

Outside the Lines

Outside the Lines trains an ensemble of local youth to create art directly addressing issues that face LGBTQ youth and allies growing up in Austin.

Outside the Lines is part of a Creative Action partnership with  Out Youth and the University of Texas Department of Theatre and Dance. Out Youth’s mission is to promote the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well being of sexual and gender minority youth so that they can openly and safely explore and affirm their identities. The value of our partnership with the University of Texas is that it allows students to discover a pathway to college and introduces them to advocacy groups on campus.

Social Creativity

Social Creativity gives a safe place to young adults with mild to moderate, high-functioning Autism to develop artistic tools for self-expression.