More than 50 students throughout the state of Maryland submitted plays they wrote for consideration to be turned into a full-scale production by the Twin Beach Players as part of the group’s second annual Kid’s Playwriting Festival, according to a press release from the organization.
The contest is open to all students in both public and private schools as well as home-schooled students. Winners were chosen from three high schools, three middle schools and three elementary schools, with eight of the nine winning students coming from Calvert schools this year.
‘‘The Twin Beach Players Kid’s Playwriting Festival features a variety of talented young playwrights, each with clear and unique stories that highlight the insight and power within young people,” the release said.
Twin Beach Players President Janine Naus said the plays vary in length, with the shortest running about 5 minutes and the longest being about 20 minutes. Each will be performed as an independent play, one right after the other, on August 24 through 26.
Northern High School senior John DiCocco’s ‘‘Stressed Out,” Patuxent High School senior William Frazier’s ‘‘Belinda’s Babysitting Service,” and The Calverton School senior Ellis Scott’s ‘‘Hands on the Wheel” were the winners in this year’s high school category. Kayla Thomas and Devin Cutlip, both seventh-graders from Northern Middle School, won awards for their work in the middle school category for their plays ‘‘The Troublemaker” and ‘‘Heartbeat,” respectively. Southern Middle School eighth-grader Katherine Huseman also won in the middle school category for her writing of ‘‘The Real Rapunzel Fairy Tale.” Fifth-grader Sabrina Stinnett from Windy Hill Elementary School and Rose Miller, a fourth grade student at Mill Creek Middle School, won in the elementary school category. Stinnett’s play is titled ‘‘Victoria’s Slumber Party” and Miller’s is called ‘‘Once Upon a Time.”
Each entry is judged on an anonymous basis, with the judges only knowing the age of the contestant so that they can judge and group participants appropriately. Naus said each entry is given equal consideration, and is judged on several different aspects, including content, development and whether or not the play has an interesting storyline.
This years winners met that criteria and more.
‘‘For the most part they’re well organized, they have an interesting plot, a beginning, middle and end, and they’re varied stories,” Naus said. ‘‘Each of these are very individual in their own right. You were interested in finding out what happened as you read through the play.”
According to the release, the purpose of the contest is to encourage creativity in the arts among students.
‘‘Twin Beach Players is committed to nurturing new playwriting talent by bringing both students and teachers together to discover the joy of writing, performing and being creative in a theatrical environment,” the release said. ‘‘The Kid’s Playwriting Festival is a multi-step process through which playwrights, theatre artists and audiences collaborate to bring selected texts from rough draft to finished production. Our program introduces students of all ages and backgrounds to the possibilities in thinking and communicating creatively.”
The idea for the playwriting festival originally came from the Dobama Theatre group in Cleveland, Ohio. With the permission of the Ohio group, Twin Beach Players started the contest locally and thus far is pleased with the results it is seeing.
‘‘I thought it [was] a wonderful idea,” Naus said. ‘‘I really like anything that has to do with children and creative expression. I love the fact that we have this opportunity to offer this to children.”
The winning playwrights also received a $100 United States Savings Bond and a special Twin Beach Players certificate commemorating their achievement. Sharon’s Way, an organization formed to promote health, welfare and education of children residing in Calvert County and other Southern Maryland communities, sponsors the annual playwriting contest.
‘‘They get involved in things they probably would have never experienced before in their young years. ...There’s all sorts of things that can develop out of being part of this program,” Naus said. ‘‘It’s pretty exciting for these young playwrights.”
E-mail Meagan Boswell at firstname.lastname@example.org.