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Apr 25, 2019

23rd Annual Young Playwrights Festival

Six original one-act plays by some of mid-Michigan’s top high school playwrights are being recognized as finalists in this year’s 23rd Annual Young Playwrights Festival. The plays will premiere on Wharton Center’s Pasant stage on Saturday, May 11, at 2pm. This event is FREE and open to the public with first come, first served seating. 

This year, more than 100 Michigan high school students submitted plays to be considered for the annual award. Six finalists were chosen and their plays are being produced by students in the MSU Department of Theatre. Each playwright was also matched with a theatre professional who is mentoring the student to help strengthen their play and create a final audience-ready version.

This year’s mentors include:

  • Jan Akers
    Emory University, professor of theatre and director
  • Joseph Giardiana
    New York City-based theatre artist
  • Elizabeth Wong
    Los Angeles-based playwright and screenwriter
  • Emily Kohring
    St. Louis-based theatre artist
  • Thomas Cote
    The Workshop Theatre in New York City, artistic director
  • Eric Gilde
    New York City-based actor and writer 

Three-time Young Playwrights Festival winner, Hanel Baveja, said, “To be that age and have such professional treatment of your words and a professional venue for your performance is the most affirming thing possible for someone who sees a career in writing.”

The 2019 Young Playwrights Finalists 

Josie Leydenfrost
Last Letters From Home                                                                                  
Pioneer High School
Alex Leydenfrost, Teacher

Michael Muston
Flickering Streetlight Hanging Somewhere Below Canal Street
Lapeer High School
Dawn Summerlee, Teacher

Caitlin Wilcoxen
Cause of Death
Williamston High School
Erika Williams, Teacher

Alexa Collins
The Upside of Going Down
Grosse Pointe South
Harry Campion, Teacher

Audrey Tieman
A Note from the Author
Haslett High School
Rebecca Kipp, Teacher

Kate Stacey
Haslett High School
Rob Porritt, Teacher

The Young Playwrights Festival is a partnership between MSU Department of Theatre and Wharton Center. It is sponsored by MSU Federal Credit Union; University Outreach and Engagement; and Wharton Center Inner Circle.