ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS SIX 10-MINUTE PLAYS WRITTEN BY LOCAL TEENS IN YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL 2019
(Santa Barbara, CA) – Any investor knows that a robust future grows from seeds planted today. That lesson isn’t lost on Ensemble Theatre Company, whose YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS’ FESTIVAL will feature professional actors in staged readings of six 10-minute plays written by high school playwrights and inspired by the theme: A More Perfect Union. “The only limits creatively are what the students have dared 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 for this year’s festival has inspired stories that focus on marriage, addiction, loss, time-travel, relationships, balance and unity.”
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.
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.”
The Festival of readings will take place on Saturday May 25 at 7:00 p.m. on stage at the New Vic, 33 West Victoria Street and feature works by Gabriella Crisa (San Marcos High School), Beau Glazier (Laguna Blanca), Morgan Johnson (Santa Barbara High School), Amanda Lennon (SBCC), Rachel Rose (San Marcos High School) and Grace Wenzel (Santa Barbara High School).
About the Playwrights
GABRIELLA CRISA is a Freshman at San Marcos High School and has always been interested in theater, films, and performing. Since 7th grade she has been taking performing arts and musical theatre classes at school. With the practice and knowledge her theatre teacher Mrs. Saleh has taught her over the years, performing and speaking out in front of crowds no longer faze her and it’s where she feels confident. Her love for writing has been around for as long as she can remember but the Young Playwrights Festival is the first experience she’s had with playwriting. Also, not only does she enjoy expressing her thoughts through words, she is also very passionate about art and drawing. Being creative is definitely something she can’t live without, so, she hopes to explore that field for career options such as directing, playwriting, or graphic design.
BEAU GLAZIER is a Junior at Laguna Blanca School and loves creative writing, musical theatre, visual arts, nature, and goats. Her passion for all things theatre was sparked during her sophomore year as an assistant costume designer for Laguna Blanca's fall drama production of Rumours. Now, she immerses herself in both the production side of theatre (costume design and set design) and in the spotlight. She has participated in three productions now including Laguna Blanca's Grease as Sandy, The Games Afoot as Martha, and her most recent endeavor, Once Upon a Mattress as Princess Winnifred. She continues to combine her passions for theatre, creative writing, visual arts, and even her love for Earth's furry creatures.
MORGAN P JOHNSON is a junior at Santa Barbara High School’s Visual Art and Design Academy, and an alumnus of ETC’s acting classes and summer conservatory. At last year’s Young Playwrights Festival, Morgan participated as an actor. Now he’s excited to be participating as a writer weaving his words into a beautiful scarf, because it was originally going to be a coat, but then he ran out of yarn and decided to just say it was a scarf the whole time. Morgan hopes to study Theatre and English in college. Though bountiful in many splendorous ways much like the academy awards record of Glenn Close he has a space trophy cabinet. With his work at school he has been exploring visual mediums with the VADA program where his pieces have been displayed a number of times at venues such as the Youth Interactive building as well as the community arts workshop (CAW).
AMANDA LENNON is a College Freshman at Santa Barbara City College. She is currently enrolled as double majoring in Biology and Criminology. In 2017, she wrote a musical called “Beauty or the Beast” which had one song performed demoed at the 2017 Creative Studies Showcase at Dos Pueblos High School and in 2018, she wrote a one act called Circus of Mirrors in her playwriting class which participated in the 2018 Young Playwrights Festival. Recently she has been working on several independent writing projects along with her current school work including working on a trilogy of screenplays. This summer she plans to revise some older writing projects as well as continue with her current writing projects while also taking summer courses towards her majors. Amanda had previously studied dance for 12 years and participated in band for six years including four years with her high school marching and concert band where she learned and played six instruments. She plans to continue to write while working towards her degrees in Criminology and Biology and hopes to volunteer with working with cold case files and potentially taking a screenwriting class since she has already completed her college English requirements.
RACHEL ROSE is a junior at San Marcos High School and is excited to write a play for Young Playwright’s Festival. Her previous writing experience was serving as co-writer on a spoof of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. On stage, Rachel appeared as Wallace Carris in Equal Opportunity Employer, and as Celia in The Most Massive Woman Wins. She also appeared as a dancer in the Musical Theatre Dance Showcase.
GRACE WENZEL is a senior at Santa Barbara High School and has been involved in theatre since elementary school. She as performed in shows at Stage Left Productions and Spotlight Productions and an active member in the SBHS theatre program where she appeared in Bullets Over Broadway (Spring 2017), In the Heights (Fall 2018), and Matilda (Spring 2019). Outside of theatre, Grace has been studying piano for 13 years and is in the Visual Arts and Design Academy at SBHS, with a concentration focusing on drawing. In the fall, Grace will be attending Lewis & Clark College in Portland. She has not decided on a major, but will likely be focusing on music, theatre arts, and visual arts. This program has been Grace's first and most detailed experience with playwriting, and she hopes to continue it in the future.
Tickets are free. Seating is general admission and reservations are encouraged.
Reserve your tickets online at www.etcsb.org/education/young-playwrights-festival.
Naming opportunities and sponsorship are available for the YPF. If you are interested in lending your 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.