Last year was the first time Saranac Lake’s Pendragon Theatre hosted a playwriting festival for young adults. My daughter and a friend were one of the many students that took advantage of the free day of theatre workshops.
The workshops focused on playwriting through fun, engaging exercises for children in grades K-6. Now in its second year, the format has slightly altered to allow excerpts and staged readings from local adult authors.
An Afternoon of Monologues is scheduled to start at 2 pm with excerpts from Ordinary Voices: Civil War Monologues by George J. Bryjak and Geoffrey Craig as well as There’s Iron in Your Future by Mindy Pfeffer.
Managing Director Tara Palen says, “We be working in a similar format as last year for the children’s workshop. We will take a popular children’s story, talk about it and let the children work through how they would rewrite and stage the story. We will be getting them on their feet, thinking like an actor and playwright.”
The free Playwriting on Your Feet workshop will be from 10:30 am to noon with a snack provided. Palen and Laura Jean Schwartau will lead this free workshop and reservations are requested as space fills quickly.
The high school winning entry Blackout by Sophie Morelli and Witter and Silas Swanson, along with middle school winner Rosemary Crowley’s True and False, will be presented in full production starting at 7 pm while runners-up receive a stage reading. The complete list of winners can be found here.
“This year we received over 30 submissions from Saranac Lake and Lake Placid High Schools and Middle Schools and some local homeschooled children,” says Palen. “The festival is certainly expanding. We are excited and look forward to growing and making this a North Country wide event.”
“We feel strongly that this is another way to expand children’s horizons,” she said. “It is also a great way to introduce kids to the arts. This festival brings kids to theatre that may not want to be on the stage, but be a part of the arts. It is a fun project that is outside the normal school project and who knows what can come from that.”
The Young Playwrights’ Festival will be held on Saturday, April 11. All aspects of the event are free and open to the public. For more information call Pendragon Theatre at (518) 891-1854.
Photo of the Pendragon Theatre Children’s Playwright workshop is used with the permission of Diane Chase.