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Ninth Graders Win DramaWorks Play Competition

Posted on: February 2, 2019

On Thursday, November 8th, the Ninth Graders read excerpts from thirteen original 10 minute plays that they had written in Jan-Marie Cook’s play writing class. At the invitation of Gary Cadwallader, the Education Director at Palm Beach DramaWorks, each of the plays has also been entered into the DramaWorks Play Competition, open to all 9-12th grade students in Palm Beach County Schools. From all entries, 20 semi-finalists were selected, and 9th Graders Isabella Knight, Danny Beck, Taylor Handley, Parker Costa, and Peter Panagoulias were among those 20 this year. Each student received professional feedback followed by a week to make revisions before a panel of playwrights and theater practitioners selected the 10 winning plays. Both Danny Beck and Taylor Handley reached the top 10, and their plays were assigned a professional director and actors who will stage a live reading at Palm Beach DramaWorks’ Playwriting Festival on February 26th. Parker Costa received a Runner-Up award, which included a monetary prize and certificate. Danny and Taylor will receive a $250 prize and will have their plays published in an anthology.
Our Ninth Graders began the process by learning basic playwriting formatting and concepts using a variety of exercises and prompts, and by reading original plays written by the class of 2018. Once first drafts were written, re-writing began during round table discussions. The critics around the table didn’t hold back, and offered constructive criticism and advice on authenticity as only teenage friends can.
At the presentation of the plays before an audience of parents and teachers, each playwright turned his or her creation over to fellow classmates turned actors for the reading. In the process, they experienced what all playwrights must go through. They heard their own carefully crafted words interpreted and brought to life by others before an audience that was hearing them for the first time.