High school students invited to submit one-act plays for festival


By Rich Adams

High school students with a knack for writing plays are invited to submit a one-act play for the Wharton Center for Performing Arts Young Playwrights Festival.

The program of the Wharton Center Institute for Arts and Creativity will select 12 semifinalists from the submitted plays. A jury will choose six finalists out of the 12, and each will team up with a professional theater mentor to help with revisions. The winning one-act plays will be produced in the Pasant Theater at the Wharton Center in the spring, with Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre students serving as actors for the plays.

The six finalists also will receive a $200 award for their winning works, and the other six semifinalists will be granted a $100 award, according to a Wharton Center news release. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 2.

The eligibility rules for submitting a play are:

  • Students must be a Michigan high school student in grades 9-12.
  • Students must be sponsored by a teacher willing to serve as the liaison between the Wharton Center, the school and the student applicant.
  • Students must submit an application form with the script. Parent, sponsoring teacher and student signatures are required.
  • Finalists must be willing to work with an assigned professional theater mentor to review their play. Writers who cannot commit to revising their plays will have their eligibility revoked.

The winning plays will be performed two times in the spring. The first performance at 2 p.m. May 9 is free and open to the public. The second performance, at 10 a.m. May 11, is a free high school performance, and all sponsoring teachers are encouraged to attend, according to the news release.

Professional mentors for 2020 include:

  • Janice Akers, artistic director of the Theater Emory, Emory University
  • Thomas Coté, artistic director of the Workshop Theater in New York City
  • Joe Giardina, New York City theater artist
  • Eric Gilde, New York City-based actor and playwright
  • Pam Sterling, associate professor of theater at Arizona State University
  • Elizabeth Wong, Los Angeles-based playwright

Rules, guidelines and script submission rules can be found at whartoncenter.com/education-engagement/young-playwrights-festival.

Tags: wharton center

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