Be a #YPThero during YPT’s Hero Week!

Sarah Olmsted Thomas Supergirl

“What happens when a young person realizes the power of her voice? She becomes the hero of her own story.”

YPT’s young playwrights love to write about superheroes. From Supergirl to Tornado Boy and Broccoli Man, some of the most memorable characters created by YPT students wear masks and capes.

Why is that? We think it’s because creating superheroes allows young people to let their imaginations run wild, and gives them a vehicle to see themselves as someone who can change the world.

Take a look at some of the amazing superheroes YPT students created for their plays during our In-School Playwriting Program this year:

Cristian Daly Heroes 1 cropped

Blue Ninja 2 croppedCristian Daly Heroes 2


Each of these characters represents a dream for a young person: a dream of making a difference, of being special – of being great.

This holiday season, you can be a #YPThero, and show a young playwright how great they truly are. 

How? Let us tell you!

  1. Donate to YPT!

    Now through the end of 2015, we are seeking out those heroes who will stand up for the forces of arts education, to give of themselves so that young people can experience the joy of creation. Will you make that difference?? Just $10/month pays for one student to take the In-School Playwriting Program for an entire semester!

    DonateNow

  2. Join YPT for Hero Week!

    Starting on Monday, November 16, YPT is holding our first-ever Hero Week, celebrating our young heroes and the people who paved the way for their greatness. Every day during Hero Week, we’ll honor heroes big and small with fun social media activities. Post photos of yourself as a superhero, share stories of everyday heroes in your life and much, much more!

    Stay tuned for all the details on Hero Week, coming next week to this blog!

Follow the whole campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @yptdc, using hashtag #YPThero! Thank you for helping DC’s young people become the heroes of their own stories!

Cristian Daly PP photo

Kicking Off the New Play Festival

During the spring and fall of 2010, hundreds of students in YPT’s In-School Playwriting Program wrote original plays about everything from vampires to gangs to superheroes. Of the over 500 plays in this pool, a reading committee composed of staff, teaching artists, actors and community members narrowed the group to 15. As part of the committee, I enjoyed having unique insight into our students’ creative processes. I was struck by the overall originality and eloquence of our young people, and especially of those we selected to produce.

For this reason, I was incredibly excited to meet our fifteen student playwrights at the New Play Festival Kick-Off Party on Saturday, February 12. Though I had never met most of these students, I felt I already knew them. Somehow reading someone’s play feels like reading the playwright, even when their story is completely imagined.

We played a game at the party that made the connection between the playwrights and their plays even more pronounced. Students were divided into groups by the night of the New Play Festival they will be produced and asked to embody their protagonist, working together to create a tableau. Program Manager Nicole Jost read play descriptions aloud and the audience had to match the play descriptions with their playwrights. The way the students embodied their characters said as much about their own personalities as those of their protagonists.

The first time Nicole called “action!”, the playwrights that will be produced on April 11 sprung into their tableau. Lauren White immediately flopped onto the floor in imitation of her superhero protagonist, Flatworm, and Marco Anderson growled into place as his fearsome feline, Mr. Jinks. Nneamaka Iwobi struck a confident pose as her singing-sensation character Kelly, while Paul McCoyer looked greedily at imaginary currency as Jack in his satirical play Money, Money, Money.

The tableaus for the Tuesday, April 12, and Wednesday, April 13, performances of the New Play Festival were more subtle. Johana Cedillos and Amber Faith Walton exhibited thoughtful creativity by melding their characters’ dark confusion into a combined tableau representing their plays Scarred with Faces and Changing Tides: Judge Me Gently. Taj Vereen stood in composed calm as the not-yet-existent protagonist of his play The Concept of Conception,  while Rasheeda Williams and Saviya Brown moved broadly to display the strength of their characters Morgan and Derrick from A Thin Line Between Her & Us and Taken 4 Granted.

I loved seeing the different creative energies in the room and watching the way the playwrights interacted with each other, their families, and the community members celebrating them. The party was a reminder of what makes YPT unique among theaters in DC.

Yes, we do produce awesome plays. But we also produce awesome students.

The Kick-Off Party was the beginning of a long process of dramaturgy for the playwrights. Click here to learn more about the playwrights and their plays, and don’t forget to celebrate with us at the New Play Festival on April 11, 12, and 13, at 7:30pm, at GALA Hispanic Theatre!

Raina
Community Engagement Associate