The last couple months have allowed me two opportunities to support young playwrights in the making, one on each coast.
The first person who supported my writing (that I can remember) was Mrs. Berrum, my fourth grade teacher, who taped my first poem to the bulletin board on her wall, and left it up there all semester. But there have been a lot of people since then... mentors Ben Masselink and Lee Wochner, and a host of other folks who have supported me, produced my plays and encouraged my crazy compulsion to become a writer. (I should include my patient and wonderful family in this category!)
So! Given the opportunity to give back is a wonderful thing.
THE STATE STREET PROJECT AT PASSAGE THEATER -- TRENTON, NJ
Last month, I spent a day with the wonderful folks at Passage Theater from Trenton, NJ and a great group of kids from Emily Fisher Charter School. Passage's "The State Street Project" employs the "playmaking" model created by the 52nd Street Project in New York. One on one mentoring results in a ten-minute play written by each and every kid. This batch of plays are going up at Passage Theater on June 4-5, 2011. Check 'em out!
THE YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL AT THE BLANK THEATER -- HOLLYWOOD, CA
This is the third year I've participated in the Young Playwrights Festival, produced by the Blank Theater in Hollywood, CA -- but it's the nineteenth year that they've done it! I love the Blank -- they've done readings of a bunch of my plays in their Living Room Series, and produced the world premiere of my play Heads. Each of the twelve winning playwrights are assigned a mentor, who helps them through one rewrite/touch-up of their plays before they go up in full, star-studded productions that run throughout the month of June. The plays are great fun -- and you get a chance to encourage some really talented young writers. Go see it!