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EV Children’s Theatre inaugural Student Playwriting Festival at Mesa Arts Center

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East Valley Children’s Theatre presents its inaugural Student Playwriting Festival on Feb. 20 at Mesa Arts Center. (East Valley Children’s Theatre/Special to MyNewsMesa.com)

Students with a knack for writing submitted their short plays for consideration to perform at the East Valley Children’s Theatre’s inaugural Student Playwriting Festival at Mesa Arts Center tomorrow, Feb. 20. Students submitted their original play entries back in December, and five were chosen to read at the playwriting festival. The 10-minute plays range in topics from drama, comedy and abstract for the audience to enjoy.

The Feb. 20 festival will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Nesbitt Elliott Playhouse at Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. It’s open to the public and will consist of a reading of the five plays, judge feedback of the plays and an awards presentation.

“It’s something we’ve thought about for quite a while,” Karen Rolston, artistic director of East Valley Children’s Theatre, said of the festival. “We do have an annual playwriting contest for a full-length play, so we thought it would be nice to promote playwriting among some of the kids and get some students to enter the contest as well.”

Three judges read and reviewed the plays, and wrote critiques detailing positive aspects and improvements—then each ranked the plays in the order they liked them, then averaged the scores to determine the top five to be performed at the festival.

Attendees of the festival can expect an introduction of judges, staged readings of the five plays, and after each reading, Rolston said judges will give each student a workshop-style critique of their play, where each judge will give feedback and ask for comments from the audience.

“A lot of times, kids don’t have an opportunity for this kind of thing, to write something and see it performed,” Rolston said. “It’s nice to have outside professionals that are working in the field, that are actual producing playwrights talk to them about things that could make a big difference in their writing. So, I think it’s a nice way maybe to inspire the kids to think ‘this is pretty good, this is something I might want to think about doing,” as a career or hobby.

After the plays are performed, there will be a presentation of awards including medals for all entries into the playwriting festival, as well as a playwright’s choice award selected by the judges, and followed by a reception.

In addition, all students who submitted entries will receive tickets to see the current show at East Valley Children’s Theatre (EVCT) and the winner of EVCT’s annual playwriting contest, “Beauty and the Computer Geek,” on Feb. 24. Susan C. Hunter and Tom Shelton, playwrights of “Beauty and the Computer Geek,” will also host a workshop for all students who submitted entries for the festival.

“Some of them were so very well written…I’m excited for the performances of the plays because some of them are exceptional,” Rolston said.

Tickets are $10 per person and are only available at the door the night of the festival. For more information, visit: evct.org.

– Mesa resident Alyssa Tufts is a freelance writer for MyNewsMesa.com.

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