Center Stage has announced the honorees for this year’s Young Playwrights Festival, an annual competition that welcomes Maryland students in grades K-12 to submit original scripts. This year, student playwrights submitted nearly 500 plays. The plays selected will be showcased with workshops, in-school performances, and select pieces will be staged at the Annual Young Playwrights Festival performance at Center Stage on Monday, May 5, at 7 pm.
“Every year more and more young students across the state take on our playwriting challenge—to astounding results,” says Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. “As the State Theater of Maryland, it is a great honor to recognize the amazing talent and creativity coming out of our schools.”
My American/My Baltimore
Accompanying the staged readings at the Festival will be the premiere of six new filmed My America/My Baltimore student monologues. In response to Center Stage’s My America project—where 50 leading American playwrights were asked to answer the question “What is my America?”—Center Stage opened this question up to the creative minds of tomorrow. This year, more than 260 students in grades K-12 throughout Maryland submitted monologues exploring “What is my America?” and six monologues will be filmed and premiered at the 2014 Young Playwrights Festival.
Center Stage welcomes the community to attend the free Young Playwrights Festival performance on May 5, which includes an awards ceremony recognizing honorees, staged readings of selected plays, the My America/My Baltimore films, and a reception in honor of all of the students who submitted scripts. The event is free; however, a $5 donation is suggested at the door. Tickets can be reserved by calling the Center Stage Box Office at 410.332.0033.
The Young Playwrights Festival is presented by Center Stage’s Department of Community Programs & Education, under the direction of Rosiland Cauthen, and is made possible through the generous support of our many community partners, including The Kennedy Center VSA, The P&G Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Eggspectation, M&T Bank, Transamerica, and the Maryland State Arts Council.
2014 Young Playwrights Festival Honorees
Grade 2, Stoneleigh Elementary, Baltimore County
Nora the butterfly, Madeline the ladybug, and Froggy the frog’s kite has a mishap with the local pond in this charming tale of friendship.
The Friends’ Sanctuary
Grade 4, Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore City
Young panda Puki and koala Coco’s forest home is destroyed by humans. Though they don’t immediately trust human Rosie and her human family, a granola bar as good-will gesture spans the species divide, leading to new possibilities for the orphaned bear-marsupial duo.
The Voyage Home
Grade 7, Harford Day School, Harford County
An eccentric pirate captain from 1547 and his crew aboard the Sea Dragon are washed ashore in 2014 Miami. They have the good fortune to befriend Eric, who helps them navigate this strange and impressive city to find their way home.
The Shot that Was Heard All Around Heaven
Grade 7, Baltimore Lab School, Baltimore City
What happens when Edgar Allan Poe, Albert Einstein, Annie Oakley, and Mother Teresa find themselves killing time in Heaven? They put on a Wild West charity event, of course!
Grade 11, St. Paul’s School for Girls, Baltimore County
Right meets left, impulse meets Adderall, and girl meets boy in this quick-witted exploration of a high school student’s brain.
Step by Step
Grade 11, Howard High School, Howard County
Protected—yet isolated—in her small hometown, one young woman sees potential camaraderie when a newcomer opens a gym in town.
In-school Readings Honorees
Grade 4, Mt. Washington School, Baltimore City
Kaya and her gang of international prodigy spies are pitted against the baddest supervillain of all time, Sunshine, in a race to save her parents from certain destruction. Fortunately, they have a plan!
The Green Skinned, Purple Freckled, Blue Haired Girl
Grade 4, School of the Cathedral, Baltimore County
Elsa can hear colors, which makes her a perfect target for Madge’s ridicule. When Elsa meets classmates who appreciate her, the outcasts stand up for themselves and each other to show that no one should be judged for how they look, how they talk, or what gifts and talents they have.
Grade 5, The Auburn School, Baltimore County
When pirate robots kidnap Kevin and threaten to take over the world, Kevin and his new friend must rely on bravery and a little bit of luck to stop the army of artificial unintelligence.
Grade 6, Loyola Blakefield, Baltimore County
It’s a very bad idea to spill coffee on a director. When said director hires a Narrator to broadcast all of Jim’s inner thoughts, Jim learns this lesson the hard way.
Grade 7, Severna Park Middle School, Anne Arundel County
Have you ever thought to yourself: “I wish I could change the ending of that book”? After finishing her bedtime reading, Maci wonders those words aloud and wakes up as the protagonist inside the novel. With only a week until all is lost, she must scramble to save both the book’s ending and her own life.
Where We Belong
Grade 8, Harford Day School, Harford County
Poseidon, Aphrodite, and Apollo negotiate their new identities as teenage re-incarnations of themselves in the Big Apple while working together to find where they belong.
A Story of Good and Evil
Grade 10, Bryn Mawr School, Baltimore City
In most stories, in most kingdoms, we cheer the good and jeer the evil. The hero beats the villain and the dragon is slain. But Prince Philip and pauper Leo, at first accepting their destinies, discover that it’s the victor who writes the history books.
Don’t Forget the Dandelions
Grade 10, Hammond High School, Howard County
In this poetic memory play, Daniel D. Lyon recounts the moment his life changed, reminds us that dandelions are still flowers—still alive, and implores us to take a little more care with the weeds we encounter.
The Foreign Word
Grade 11, Gov. Thomas Johnson High School, Frederick County
A teenage boy in a psychologist’s office offers us a sympathetic glimpse at an unsympathetic character.
My America/My Baltimore Honorees
Our Song, Our Banner
Grade 12, Dulaney High School
The Land of the Free
Grade 8, Hyattsville Middle School
Grade 4, Windsor Hills Elementary Middle School
Grade 8, Roland Park Elementary Middle School
Kindergarten, Creative City Public Charter School
Grade 10, Westside Youth Opportunity
Center Stage is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges, and universities for arts activities. Funding for the MSAC is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Center Stage’s 2013-14 Season is made possible by Season 51 presenting sponsor M&T Bank. Maryland Public Television is a Media Partner for Center Stage’s 2013-14 Season.
About Center Stage
Under the leadership of playwright, actor, and director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE (Artistic Director) and national arts leader Stephen Richard (Managing Director), Center Stage is an artistically driven institution committed to engaging, entertaining, and enriching audiences of today and tomorrow through joyous and bold performance. Hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “a model of what regional theater can and should be,” Center Stage has, for more than 50 years, dedicated itself to exploring new works and bringing classics to life. This rich history is marked by critically acclaimed new works that have shaped the American theater; from the Tony Award-winning The Triumph of Love to World Premieres such as Miss Evers’ Boys by David Feldshuh and On the Verge by Eric Overmyer. In 2013, Center Stage’s unprecedented presentation of the Tony Award-winning Clybourne Park in repertory with the World Premiere of Kwei-Armah’s Beneatha’s Place sparked dialogue, drew international media attention, and became the subject of a nationally broadcast PBS documentary, “A Raisin in the Sun Revisited: The Raisin Cycle at Center Stage.” With its signature focus on civic and community engagement, Center Stage, The State Theater of Maryland, enters its second 50 years with a commitment to exploring how art and entertainment communicate in the 21st century and to igniting conversation in Baltimore and beyond.
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