Friday, November 14, 2014

Young Playwrights Convene at The Palace on December 15

Intensive Arts-In-Education Program Encourages Students 

to Explore Creative Expression

The 2014 class of young playwrights, with guest teaching artist, Mathilde Dratwa. Photo by Lisa Barlow.

For at least four years, The Palace Theatre has served Stamford’s community of aspiring young artists as a sponsor and host of arts-in-education programs for kids, such as the Triple Threat Performer Intensive and the Young Choreographers Festival that was recently held at our venue. On Monday, December 15 at 7pm, our Young Playwrights Festival will present “Script to Stage,” a live, staged reading of an original 15-minute one-act play written by 12 students from two local high schools. 

The title of the play is "Glass Shards," written in collaboration by 12 young women who started the process with ensemble-building activities and journal writing.  After several drafts and revisions, the young women settled on a story of friendship despite the odds, and of the struggle for human connection even in difficult moments. They wrote every word, from the title to the last period. In the process, they learned about goals, obstacles, tactics and conflict as pillars of dramatic writing.

Jasmeen Lucero (L) and Marily Caicedo (R) rehearse "Glass Shards." Photo by Lisa Barlow.

“Script to Stage” is the culmination of 10 weekly sessions held this year at The Palace led by guest guest teaching artist, Mathilde Dratwa (New Victory Theatre, Roundabout Theatre). Once signed up, 9th through 12th grade students in the ALTA (Aspiring Leadership Through Action) program at Stamford High School and Westhill High School met every Saturday to collaborate on writing a play, deciding whether their work will be in English, Spanish or both, and if it should be a comedy, drama or musical.

The vision for the Young Playwrights Festival is to create a holistic environment that empowers the lives of these young performing artists by cultivating individual self-expression and nurturing their creativity and inner talents. During their time at The Palace with our visiting artist, students learned acting techniques to help them convey their stories. Literacy skills, diction, and self-esteem were also improved by reading written materials aloud for peer review. A free online program was used to introduce basic procedures of formatting a script.

At the end of the program, during which attendance each week is mandatory, students learned through discipline to observe and explore. High school students from our neighborhoods found and developed their own unique and personal creative voice. Join us on December 15 at The Palace to help these talented kids and their families celebrate their achievements.

The Young Playwrights Festival is made possible through a generous grant from Pitney Bowes. We'd also like to thank the Stamford Board of Education: Mike Meyer, Beryl Williams, Juan Pazmino and Douglas Fetchin, for giving us their students from the ALTA program.

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