- Courtesy of Vermont Young Playwrights
- Mimi Lodestone, right, with Kat Redniss, discussing "The Lie"
For 25 years, the Vermont Young Playwrights Festival has celebrated middle and high school voices around Vermont. The event is a collaboration of the Young Writers Project, Vermont Stage and the Flynn Center.
Rowyn Abbott-Smith finds her name in the program. As the first-place winner for Winooski Middle School, she will have a staged reading of her play; the highest honor of the festival.
Some students are excited about the cold readings. Others excitedly anticipate meeting the professional actors, who will be reading and staging their plays. Many say that they are looking forward to the staged readings in the afternoon. Students chat with each other, waiting for the program to get underway.
The house lights dim, and the voices quiet. Kids tuck their books into their backpacks. The stage is illuminated in blue and red. The 25th Annual Young Playwrights Festival has begun.
According to Cristina Alicea, producing artistic director of Vermont Stage, the purpose of Vermont Young Playwrights is to “foster the next generation of playwrights.” The program starts in the fall. Participating middle and high schools — 16 this year — invite teaching playwrights to their classes, devoting two to three full days to learning the art of playwriting. After intensive lessons and collaborative revisions, each student comes away with a 10-minute play. Vermont Young Playwrights chooses three winners per school, and those students are celebrated at the festival. This year, middle school students were honored on May 2, high schoolers on May 3.