Blue Star Theatres to Join FST's SARASOTA FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS, 5/10

Blue Star Theatres to Join FST's SARASOTA FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS, 5/10

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, and Blue Star Families, the country's largest chapter-based military families non-profit organization, are pleased to join Florida Studio Theatre's Sarasota Festival of New Plays Weekend to celebrate student dramatic writing. In partnership between TCG and Blue Star Families, with support from MetLife Foundation, Blue Star Theatres connects a variety of theatre offerings to military personnel and their families across the United States. This initiative recognizes the profound contributions of service families and seeks to build stronger connections between theatres, military families and their communities through unique programming, special discounts and more.

On Saturday, May 10, Sarasota Festival of New Plays Weekend will feature a series of readings of award-winning plays by young writers at 12 Noon (EST) at Florida Studio Theatre's Keating Theatre and Gompertz Theatre, 1241 North Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL. This series will include a reading of TV Time Machine, a play from the Military Program at Sigsbee Elementary, as part of the WRITE A PLAY (WAP) program, an in-school arts initiative designed to inspire students to be creative and to write plays. Florida Studio Theatre also participates in The Legacy of Valor Campaign, a series of partnership events designed to help students understand what it means to be a veteran or an active-duty service member. An awards ceremony will be held at 2:00pm to present a 2014 WRITE A PLAY Recognition Award to Blue Star Families and TCG for Blue Star Theatre, and a panel on "The State of New Plays in America" will follow at 4:30pm that will include Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG.

"Witnessing the joy and confidence-building that comes from students playwrights seeing their work performed on stage is truly inspiring, and the Sarasota Festival of New Plays is always a favorite part of my year," said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. "We're thrilled to have the opportunity to congratulate all of the award-winning young playwrights and to shine a spotlight on a winning young playwright from a military family."

"Just witnessing the number of winning and honorable mention playwrights stand during our YPF award ceremony brings me to tears-joyful tears," said Patrick A. Jackson, WAP coordinator. "To know that you are part of something so great that has such a profound impact on so many youths is truly amazing. I look forwarding to applauding the work of this year's recognized playwrights!"

"MetLife Foundation is pleased to continue our work with Blue Star Families and support the Blue Star Theatres program," said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. "Opening doors to theatres across the country is a wonderful way for members of our military and their families to share time together and experience the arts in their communities. The Blue Star Theatres program is also a way for MetLife Foundation to say 'thank you' to our servicemen and women."

The WRITE A PLAY Program at Florida Studio Theatre is an in-school arts initiative, designed to inspire students to be creative and to write plays. This year FST received plays from over 3,000 young playwrights in the state of Florida and around the world for this Young Playwrights Festival. For more information on this program, contact Nicole Clayton, public relations associate, at nclayton@floridastudiotheatre.org. To attend the event, RSVP to Adam Ratner, teaching artist/YPF Coordinator, by calling 941-366-9017 ext#323, or by email at aratner@floridastudiotheatre.org.

Blue Star Theatres builds on the work already occurring at many theatres nationwide, including: playwriting classes to empower creative expression for veterans; community discussions on plays whose themes resonate with military families; free or discounted ticket programs; job postings and casting notices on military bases; and much more. TCG and Blue Star Families connect theatres with local bases and military families, and develop and disseminate best-practices for engaging with deployed personnel, veterans and service families.

One hundred and eleven TCG Member Theatres have already signed on to participate in Blue Star Theatres. To find the full list, visit: http://www.tcg.org/pdfs/advocacy/BST_alpha_4-25-14.pdf.

For more information about Blue Star Theatres, visit: http://www.tcg.org/advocacy/bluestar/map.cfm.

Blue Star Families is an international nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserve, dedicated to supporting, connecting, and empowering military families. With our partners, Blue Star Families hosts a robust array of morale and empowerment programs including Books on Bases, Blue Star Museums, Operation Honor Corps, Blue Star Careers, and Operation Appreciation. Blue Star Families also works directly with the Department of Defense and senior members of local, State, and Federal government to bring the most important military family issues to light. Collaborating with fellow nonprofits, community advocates, and public officials, Blue Star Families raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life and works to make military life more sustainable. Our worldwide membership includes military spouses, children, parents, and friends, as well as service members, veterans, and civilians. To learn more about Blue Star Families, visit them at http://www.bluestarfam.org/, and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BlueStarFamilies), Twitter (https://twitter.com/BlueStarFamily) and Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/bluestarfam/).

MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million over the next five years to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world. MetLife Foundation is affiliated with MetLife, Inc., a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs. MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is Sarasota's contemporary theatre, located in the heart of downtown. It has been in operation in Sarasota since 1973. The Florida Studio Theatre campus is a village of theatres - the historic Keating and Gompertz Theatres, the Parisian-style Goldstein and John C. Court Cabarets, and the new Bowne's Lab Theatre. Near the Sarasota bayfront, FST brings an energy and vitality to the downtown area. Each theatre is small in size and large in impact - providing an intimate and engaging setting for high-quality, professional performances. Hip and historical, entertaining and challenging, we are the theatre where the street meets the elite, where everyone is welcome to come and engage in the art of theatre. During its history, FST has grown into a theatre with a budget of over $5.3 million and 27,000 subscribers a year, more than any theatre its size in the country. FST has modeled itself on the strength of creating the best in contemporary theatre at an affordable price. Overall, FST serves over 165,000 attendees per year through its major programs: the Mainstage Series, the Cabaret Series, Stage III, WRITE A PLAY, Education, and New Play Development. http://www.floridastudiotheatre.org/.

For over 50 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. TCG's constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting its constituents to the global theatre community. TCG is North America's largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 12 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning AMERICAN THEATRE magazine and ARTSEARCH, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its member theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. www.tcg.org.

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