NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR ETC YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS’ FESTIVAL 2019
(Santa Barbara, CA) – Any investor knows that a robust future grows from seeds planted today. The lesson isn’t lost on Ensemble Theatre Company, whose YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS’ FESTIVAL will offer professional playwriting classes, one-on-one mentorships with professional playwrights and stage readings with professional directors and actors.
The program takes inspiration from Stephen Sondheim’s Young Playwrights’ Inc., in working to encourage the creative self-expression of young artists. The effort is a true exercise in community engagement, education and development with participation in the festival being offered to Santa Barbara Unified High School students at no cost.
It’s an alliance that yields rewards for all involved: “What I love about creating theater with young people is that I learn as much from them as they do from me.” says instructor Michael Bernard. “Their passion and enthusiasm for self-expression is infectious. Some of the most exciting and unusual plays I have ever seen have sprung from the mind of a teenager.” In May, 12 of the students’ 10-minute plays will be presented to the public free of charge; an unparalleled bargain in professional theatre that offers dividends to all involved even as it asks only the support of participation.
The YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL is a 5-month-long program that gives young writers 13-19 a safe and nurturing forum from which to create a 10-minute play and the opportunity to have their work produced and staged with professional directors and actors for public audiences. Students learn the fundamentals of playwriting through classroom activities and mentorships with professional playwrights, who provide guidance and direction on drafts of early scenes helping them to develop those ideas into a cohesive, creative and original one-act play. Each play will center around the theme “A More Perfect Union.”
“The only limits creatively are what the students dare to conceive,” says Education Director Brian McDonald. “Although the phrase ‘a more perfect union’ is best associated with its place in the preamble to the United States Constitution its use as a theme can be expanded to include personal relationships, family unions, workers unions, balance, unity, etc. We encourage our writers to think outside the box and use this theme as inspiration.”
Michael Bernard spent 10 years as the Associate Artistic Director of The 52nd Street Project, a nationally recognized theater company that creates original theater with kids from Hell’s Kitchen New York City and theater professionals. At the Project he taught playwriting and mentored hundreds of kids plays from ideas to production. He also taught playwriting in over 50 New York City High Schools as an Artist in Residence for the Manhattan Theater Club. As a writer Michael wrote the script for "Baseball Swing" at the Annenberg Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills and his play "A-Li-En The Family" was featured in the 2014 LA SCI-FEST. He was also chosen to adapt two stories by Neil Gaiman for original productions in LA. He has written some television commercials and has also written for Disney, Nickelodeon, Henson Productions, Nick at Nite, DC Comics, Showtime, Spike TV, The Sundance Channel, Noggin, WE, MTV and VH1. He currently teaches theater at UCSB and SBCC.
Students interested in applying for a spot in The Young Playwrights’ Festival should visit https://etcsb.org/education/young-playwrights-festival. Deadline to apply is December 22, 2018.
Naming opportunities and sponsorship are still available for the YPF. If you are interested in lending you support please contact Director of Education, Brian McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note to Editors: To schedule interviews, please call Brian McDonald at (805) 512-5223.