Collaboration between Philadelphia Young Playwrights and Temple Theaters benefits all
By Logan Beck
Beginning on Thursday, October 6, Temple University in collaboration with Philadelphia Young Playwrights will celebrate its 27th year of the New Voices Workshop, with the performances of new plays written by students from local elementary, middle and high schools.
From a pool of over 700 submissions, seven plays ranging from traditional comedies and dramas to more experimental pieces were selected to be performed by undergraduate Temple Theaters students.
With such a large volume of talent to choose from, selection subcommittees are created in order to ensure that each play receives comments and feedback, before the top fifty are read by the final selection committee.
David Ingram, Associate Professor of Theater and the producer for the festival, is in his 12th year of the program and says that the program has become much more “writer-centric” over the years, involving the playwrights actively in rehearsal, and engaging them in a more “real world” manner.
“We have the writers in rehearsals more, and we’ve consciously modeled it on other new play development events where you have new pages coming in, and the playwrights working with the directors and the cast to re-write as they go,” Ingram said.
David O’Connor, the Resident Director of Philadelphia Young Playwrights, calls the New Voices Workshop a “win-win” for both organizations.
“The central quality experience that PYP provides is putting professional artists and theater makers in contact with young writers, and putting the students ideas at the center of the conversation,” O’Connor said. “ Not only are students listened to, what they have to say is celebrated and put on stage for an audience to hear and consider. The impact is huge. I watch transformation happen right in front of me, as a young person watches an animated room full of actors, directors, designers, dramaturgs work together to make the students vision a reality. It is a powerful, sometimes life-changing experience for the students.”
While the student playwrights are given the opportunity to showcase their work and watch it come to life on stage, undergraduate actors also benefit from the festival, as they learn to perform, adapt and grow in a workshop environment.
“The point of this is not you, the point of this is to realize this young person’s play,” Ingram said. “When they do that, they experience doing theater in a different way, which is more collaborative, and more of an ensemble approach.”
The plays that are being performed in the Randall Theater, October 6 - 15 are Walk Away by Crystalbell Smith, The Money by Ariel Feinberg, Mime Guy by Isaiah Smith, Muse by Maya Penaziek, Aliyah by Ambria Hartie, Kindness is Like Soooo Two Hundred Years Ago by Katherine Foulke, and Kids These Days by Amelia Boscov.
Tickets for the workshop are free, but must be reserved online at phillyyoungplaywrights.org/on-stage.