by Caroline Kaiser
The WRITE A PLAY program is one of the pillars of Florida Studio Theatre’s Education program. This spring, the program, now in its 26th year, will culminate in the Young Playwright’s Festival on May 19.
Beginning each fall, WRITE A PLAY kicks off with a children’s play performed by FST’s acting apprentices. FST Playmakers then bring theatre to the students, teaching the structure and elements of plays through high energy, interactive workshops. The students are then encouraged to write and submit their own plays to Florida Studio Theatre, and thousands of them do. Young Playwrights submit their work from Sarasota, Manatee, and Hillsborough counties, as well as from all over the globe through a special partnership with Sarasota’s Sister Cities International, with plays coming from Scotland, Mexico, Russia, and Israel.
From the thousands of submissions, winning plays are selected to form two shows: The Boy Who Liked Pulling Hair and Other Winning Plays (featuring student playwrights in grades 6 and under) and Seven Up (7th through 12th graders. Both of the shows feature the very best in creativity, authenticity, and imagination. “These plays speak through the truly authentic voices of the young playwrights who created the worlds and the characters that inhabit them and they invite us as audience members to be a part of their fantastic, imaginative, and heartfelt journeys,” said Adam Ratner, YPF Coordinator.
On May 19, their work is celebrated with their families, friends, and educators with a performance of both The Boy Who Liked Pulling Hair and Seven Up, followed by the YPF Awards ceremony. All of the winning playwrights are presented with a certificate and a medal commemorating their “Courage to Create.”
In addition to the festival on May 19, the plays will be performed at FST as a special field trip opportunity for elementary school students, on-tour in our surrounding counties, and on the weekends for the public as a part of FST’s Children’s Theatre series.