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Young Playwrights Festival

Script submissions must be received no later than Monday, December 9, 2014.

This event is free and open to the public!
Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 1:30pm - City Opera House

City Opera House, Old Town Playhouse, National Writers Series and the MSU Federal Credit Union Institute for Arts & Creativity are happy to invite you to attend a Free Performance of the Playwrights Festival. The Young Playwrights Festival showcases six original works, written by local high school students, produced by students and performed at City Opera House by local actors and directors. These talented finalists & productions have been selected from a juried competition of over 30 entrants. Each finalist will receive a $100 award and a staged production of their play at the City Opera House.

Congratulations to the 2014 Young Playwright finalists:

2014 Free Performance House Program

What makes a good play

To help you answer this question, you can read ideas from people affiliated with the Young Playwrights Festival below.

The best plays have something to say. The best plays reveal something that we may already know but in a unique way or with a different slant. Plays have a chance to move, repel or unite audiences. A play with a clear purpose, a clear premise, a clear message is always the best for me.

Playwrights have a chance to illuminate whatever moves or angers them. Playwrights can always look for inspiration in their own lives, but they have a responsibility to shape these events into a unique message. Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) know what you want to say.

Robert J. Roznowski Professor of Theatre/Acting
Michigan State University
YPF Semifinalist Faculty Mentor

The key to a good piece of theatre is integrity. that all of the various pieces of character, plot, structure, language and the central idea all fit together in a meaningful way. Oftentimes in playwriting, something is missing with regard to integrity, the plot doesn't quite work out or a character uses language that doesn't fit them. Whenever I read or see a really good play it is because all of the stuff of the play hangs together and sticks. In addition, this idea of integrity keeps you inside the world of the play and you don't get taken out of the moment. Integrity makes a play live and lets you live inside it.

Probably the most important element of this integrity is the plot. I call the plot "the way the story ticks." When the plot works, usually the play works too. All kinds of plots can work, funny ones, quirky ones, family ones, scary ones, even stupid ones from time to time. The key to a good plot is that each action in the play logically follows upon the previous action. Again, it sticks together and you don't find yourself saying, "that story just didn't interest me." A good plot will interest you because it all fits together.

I have to say that plots don't have to be logical in the sense of time. We all know this by now after seeing films like The Matrix and Memento, two plots that jump all over the map of time and memory. But the reason the plots in those films work is because each event logically follows the previous one within the world of the play. My favorite stage play that jumps around in time and memory is Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie because all the characters and events logically stick together even though we're inside a character's mind and memory.

And, finally, we have to acknowledge the importance of character. Good strong characters make good plays. They take actions and say things that make us sit up and think or laugh or writhe in emotion. We want to listen to them, not necessarily because they are right, or because they are teaching us something, but because they're interesting. They might come from the situations of your life and reality, or they might leap from the imagination or from the inspiration of art. The key to great characters is that they fit into that plot with integrity. They take actions and use language that fits with the plot.

I've worked with many playwrights over the years and all of them have taught me that good writing connects people. It gives us a reason to converse and take action ourselves. It changes us. So, be bold and brave and write a play that has integrity.

Dr. Stephanie Sandberg
Professor of Theatre
Calvin College
YPF Guest Responder to Public Performance

Check out the video below for more information.

For show information, contact:

Minda Nyquist

Generously Sponsored By: Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Michigan State University Outreach & Engagement, National Endowment for the Arts, Traverse City National Writers Series, Old Town Playhouse, UpNorth TV 97 & 992 and Worthington Family Foundation.

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