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Photos by Michael Cannon
City Theatre Young Playwrights is a comprehensive, dynamic arts education program serving teachers, students, and the Pittsburgh community. The program fulfills state academic standards, including Arts and Humanities as well as Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. Four major components make up the Young Playwrights program: the Young Playwrights Contest, Festival, Teacher Institute, and In-School Workshops.
Young Playwrights Contest
City Theatre’s annual Young Playwrights Contest encourages western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia students to make their voices heard by writing and submitting original, one-act plays. Every script is read and evaluated by our Literary Committee, and each student receives a written summary of the evaluator’s comments, including constructive criticism and encouraging suggestions for continued revisions. Selected plays from the contest are represented each year in our annual Young Playwrights Festival.
Young Playwrights Festival
Selected submissions to the Young Playwrights Contest are given professional productions at City Theatre as part of the annual Young Playwrights Festival. Student playwrights have the opportunity to develop their scripts in collaboration with professional theatre artists—a director, dramaturgs, and actors—for productions in City Theatre’s Hamburg Studio.
Teachers take on the role of students during this professional development course. With the help of City Theatre professionals, teachers get to jump-start their own writing skills while learning creative ways to incorporate playwriting and basic theatre skills into their classrooms. Open to educators of grades 4-12.
A City Theatre teaching artist works in a collaborative partnership with the classroom teacher to facilitate in-school playwriting workshops for students. Students learn improvisation and basic theatre skills in an ensemble-based environment, as well as monologue writing, dialogue writing, character creation, and other fundamentals of playwriting. Using these elements, students compose a full scene, which is then expanded into a one-act play. Students participate in moderated constructive peer review of each other’s work, and have the unique opportunity to receive one-on-one feedback from the theatre artist in individual revision conferences. This dynamic approach to arts education fulfills state and national standards, including PA Arts and Humanities Standards (9.1–9.4) and PA Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Standards (1.1–1.8).