The numbers: 1 year/400 members/53 countries!
Hard to believe it’s been a year since our website and network were launched – the time has moved so quickly and so slowly. Many thanks to all of our members, all those who come visit our website, for all those who believe in the power of new plays for young audiences. Unexpected and wonderful connections keep happening – playwrights from one country who are produced and/or published in another. Let’s keep talking and writing, and spread the word to all your colleagues and friends in your city, your country, your region.
New Visions/New Voices 2012 has left the building…
This 2012 edition of this award-winning international showcase/festival in support of new works for young audiences concluded May 20, and we have posted a number of articles:
- The projects, a summary of the week, some thoughts: NV/NV2012: The week in brief
- See some of the faces involved in two slide shows: NV/NV in pictures
- An article on the US and International Playwright Slams: Slammin’ at NV/NV
- Insightful, inspiring, and humorous quotes from participants: Overheard at NV/NV
- Biographies and a short Q and A with our International Playwright Observers
- Looking ahead to NV/NV 2014
WLPG’s ‘Pacific Shorts’ in Okinawa (and beyond)
In 2012 WLPG will introduce a new program to showcase writers for young audiences. Until now, our signature artistic showcase has been the WLPG Slams Program, which many members will recall from the 2011 ASSITEJ World Congress in Copenhagen and Malmo. In a WLPG Slam, the audience hears playwrights read excerpts of their own work, in their own language. It’s a fantastic way to really hear a writer’s voice.
In 2012, we will introduce a new program – the WLPG Shorts. A WLPG Shorts Program is essentially the curation and public reading of short ten-minute plays within a festival or event. These plays are written specifically for that festival/conference/symposium/event and respond to the theme of the event. The Shorts Program is designed to give exposure in particular to young and/or emerging writers at large gatherings of their performing arts peers. If the writers are able to attend, mentoring opportunities are also offered in terms of small group meetings with established playwrights and directors.
The target audience for plays can be from young children to young adults, although the audience for WLPG Shorts readings will usually be adults.
We will be posting guidelines soon about the whole process, from submissions to running the readings to documentation after the event. We encourage WLPG members to consider having an official WLPG Shorts Program as part of the artistic programming of their festivals – if you’re interested in having a WLPG Shorts Program, plase contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, WLPG is honored to be partnering with the Kijimuna Festa, ASSITEJ Japan, and JIENKYO to present ‘Pacific Shorts’ as part of the festival. We have been working closely with professor and playwright (and WLPG member) Toyoko Nishida in the coordination of the event.
LATEST NEWS AND FEATURES
WLPG Featured Playwrights - Ksenia Dragunskaya (Russia), Berta Hiriart (Mexico), Afeif Ismail (Sudan/Australia), Monika Milewska (Poland)
From time to time, we like to feature some of our WLPG member playwrights. We've gathered interviews with four our them: Ksenia Dragunskaya from Russia, Berta Hiriart from Mexico, Afeif Ismail from Sudan/Australia, and Monika Milewska (Poland).
‘Baby Maybe' by Barry Kornhauser
Theater for babies? Really? When I first learned of this sub-genre of the TYA field, I responded with the same healthy skepticism I suspect is shared by many theater practitioners, even those, like me, devoted to working for children. That creating plays for preschoolers has been a highly regarded practice across the globe for several decades now seemed as incomprehensible as baby-talk. After all, how could such young children possibly sink their teeth into a play when they’re still cutting them? But the more I learned about the baby brain from recent advances in neuroscience, and of the work of those international practitioners of what is called Theater for the Very Young (TVY) or Theater for Early Learners or just plain Baby Theater, the more the whole thing became both intriguing and alluring.
‘Theater of the Young, For the Young' by Steven Dietz
I believe kids want stories and not “titles.” I believe they want adventure and conflict and hard truths and cool stuff and fear and death and history and magic and some more cool stuff and maybe some kissing or blood or a guy like their weird Uncle Dan or a bike that flies or turns into an elk. Unlike their gatekeepers, I am fully convinced that kids do not want “excellent role models”, compulsory “understanding” and a seventy minute run time.
‘Writing for Children: Getting past the Gatekeepers' by Cheryl L. West
Is it not the job of any playwright writing for children or adults or both to write was is authentic, true, and makes for a compelling dramatic story. Is it not our mandate to write stories that potentially and hopefully ignite passion and ultimately discussion, particularly with our children? Children, I believe, are available and more than ready for lively discussion and engagement. Perhaps it’s us well meaning gatekeepers who, dare I say, create the barriers.
Interview with Australian playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer
How do you begin work on a new piece?: "Usually the first thing to appear is a character who is very blurry around the edges. I'll start by letting them speak and hearing what they say, what seems to be their mission or desire, and what might be impeding that. Then from this opening gambit, I try to recognize features of their landscape, of the world in which they live, and sketch that."
‘At Play in the Fields of TYA' by Elissa Adams
If you’re a playwright looking for a home for your work and an audience to share it with, the field of Theater for Young Audiences rocks. I am billing this article as a Guide for the Uninitiated, because, as I talk with playwrights at festivals, MFA programs, at places like The Playwrights’ Center and New Dramatists, the majority of them doesn’t know much about the field of TYA and aren’t actively considering how writing for TYA can be artistically challenging and financially lucrative. For those of you in the TYA community, the places, people, trends, discussed here will probably be familiar to you. I ask you, the citizens of the TYA world, to use this week to communicate, through responses and postings, what you’re working on and what you find fulfilling about the field. Shout out to the TYA practitioners whose work you love and help me guide the uninitiated to the best TYA has to offer.
'Chupacabras and Risk in TYA' by Gabriel Jason Dean
I have an imaginary goat named Valencia who loves Payday candy bars, speaks Spanish, English (and goat) and is terrified of chupacabras. Just in case you don’t know, a chupacabra is a maybe mythical / maybe-not-so mythical creature known for sucking the blood of goats. Yes, a goat vampire. They were one of the discoveries I made at the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices Festival while work-shopping my play The Transition of Doodle Pequeño alongside director, Wendy Bable from People’s Light & Theatre.
Royal Court Young Writers Festival 2012
This year, the Royal Court Young Writers Festival ran from 23 February – 14 April, showcasing promising young talent from across the UK – debut plays from young British playwrights with original and diverse stories to tell.
A grand celebration of college and university playwrights and plays
On Saturday, April 21, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival had its annual awards ceremony, incluing the Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards. Of special interest to the WLPG community were the awards for Outstanding Theater for Young Audiences play given to Gabriel Jason Dean for The Transition of Doodle Pequeño, with second place going to Shayanna Jacobs for Susan and the Sister Woman.
Four Actor-Writers in Rural Cheshire, UK - '12 Miles From Nowhere On Tour'
In 2009 Action Transport Theatre Company invited four actor-writers to research, compose and ultimately perform a play for the rural youth community of Cheshire, UK. During the two-year process, they met and workshopped ideas with those young people, workshopped together as writers, written collaboratively, presented readings across Cheshire and finally toured the play – 12 MILES FROM NOWHERE – back to the communities where it was formed. Freddie Machin describes the experience in 12 Miles From Nowhere On Tour.
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Google Translate on Write Local. Play Global.
We have incorporated Google’s website translator throughout the site so you can view automatic translations of WLPG content in more than 50 languages.
SUBMISSIONS / OPPORTUNITIES
International Radio Playwriting Competition 2012
This is a competition for anyone resident outside Britain, to write a 53-minute radio drama for up to six characters. There are two categories: one for writers with English as their first language and one for writers with English as their second language. Whether you're experienced, new, or somewhere in between, they want to hear from you.
Interplay Europe – Festival of Young Playwrights 2012 in Buitrago, Spain
From 29 June to 8 July 2012 “Interplay Europe – Festival of Young Playwrights” will take place in Buitrago, near Madrid, Spain's capital. It will be organized by Interplay Spain. The participation of up to 50 young playwrights and 25 tutors from 20 European countries is anticipated, and they will share days full of script-discussions, workshops, rehearsed readings and theatre shows. Young playwrights, aged between 18 and 26, who are interested in this festival are invited to contact their national Interplay representative.
Calling Western Cape playwrights - The SCrIBE Script Writing Competition (South Africa)
The SCrIBE Script Writing Competition is open to playwrights who are South African residents, over the age of 18 and living in the Western Cape. The winning script will be produced for a run in Cape Town from 22 October to 3 November.
Let’s hear from you
Let us know what members are doing and promote their work to our growing international audience:
- · On the right hand menu is a link to 'scripts/publishers' Help us populate it with organizations frmo your country or region
- · Does your theatre have a commitment to developing new work? If so, let us know and we’ll post the information in our'theaters that develop new work' section
- · Keep everyone informed on the 'what's happening' area
- You can now search our diverse Community by profession and country to find out playwrights, directors, producers, composers, arts managers, teaching artists and educators who create, support, develop, critique and view plays for young audiences around the world.
- Our organizations/events/resources index now lists by category and country as well as title.
- You can now subscribe to an RSS news feed of WLPG news here.
- And don’t forget – our search engine is always a useful shortcut to finding what you need.
Deirdre, Tony, and Kim
Founders/Editors: Deirdre Kelly Lavrakas, Tony Mack, Kim Peter Kovac email@example.com