SARASOTA — Florida Studio Theatre is holding its award-winning Write a Play program for the 29th year.
The program encourages young students to open their minds, envision new possibilities and write their remarkable ideas. This year, the program will reach over 47,000 children in over 45 schools across Florida.
The program is a year-round arts-in-education initiative providing students with the example, the inspiration and the skills to write their own original plays.
“Through Write a Play, we have touched the lives of over 1 million children since the program’s inception in 1991,” said FST Director of Children’s Theatre Caroline Kaiser. “In addition to reinforcing writing skills, this program celebrates creativity and imagination, which both come naturally to children.”
Write a Play is a three-part program that connects with students and educators often throughout the school year.
First, participants experience “The Play That Sets the Example,” a professional play performed by FST Acting Apprentices either on FST’s downtown Sarasota campus or through a touring production at their own school.
This year “The Play That Sets the Example” running at FST is “Pinocchio,” by Greg Banks, while on tour it’s the inspirational tale of “Tomás and the Library Lady,” adapted for the stage by José Cruz González.
Pre- and post-show discussions and take-home study guides add another level of understanding to what students have seen and heard.
Next, students experience “The Play That Inspires.” FST’s team of “Playmakers” (acting apprentices) tour classrooms throughout Florida and perform a collection of award-winning plays written by previous young students, this year titled “Write It Out.”
The “Playmakers” lead workshops on the four fundamental elements of a play: character, dialogue, conflict and setting.
Teachers then will lead students in writing their own plays, all of which can be submitted to FST’s Young Playwrights Festival playwriting competition. FST receives over 2,000 submissions each year, and each one is read at least twice by FST staff and a group of community volunteers. About a dozen are selected for a full-scale production.
The third and final installment of the program is “The Play That Celebrates Young Playwrights.”
Every spring, participants return to FST for a full theatrical production featuring that year’s playwriting competition winners. This year, that play is titled “The Star Who Could Not Twinkle & Other Winning Plays.”
Write a Play culminates with FST’s annual Young Playwrights Festival, where hundreds of students, their families, educators and prominent theater artists travel from across the state and as far away as Russia, Scotland, Italy and Israel to see the outstanding plays created over the school year. Winners receive a certificate and medal of honor for their participation.
Teachers and group leaders interested in having FST’s Write a Play program visit their school should contact FST’s Education Group Sales Associate, Hannah Bagnall, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 941-366-9017, ext. 331.