Philadelphia Young Playwrights Presents Professional Readings of Winning Student Plays 4/10, 5/1

Philadelphia Young Playwrights' (PYP) New Voices: Saturday Reading Series continues this spring with programs offered on Saturdays at 11 a.m. at the Philadelphia Art Alliance (251 South 18th Street) on April 10 and May 1. The Saturday Reading Series features professional staged readings of winning elementary and middle school plays authored by students from across the region. [A full schedule with play descriptions follows below.]

Philadelphia Young Playwrights continues to build lasting collaborations with professional theater artists and educators and connect these professionals with more than 50 public and private K-12 schools. The student plays explore a wide range of subjects and universal themes, while offering compelling stories, a peek inside new worlds, and countless imaginative characters. Participating students come from schools throughout the region, including North Philadelphia's Morrison School, West Philadelphia's St. Francis De Sales School, Wallingford's Strath Haven Middle School (Delaware County) and Northwest Philadelphia's William Penn Charter School.

The Saturday Reading Series presentations at the Philadelphia Art Alliance are the result of an outstanding partnership between Young Playwrights and the Department of Theater at Temple University. Peter Reynolds, Artistic Director of Philadelphia's critically acclaimed Mauckingbird Theatre Company and Director of Musical Theater for the Department of Theater at Temple University, will direct all Saturday Reading Series programs. Each play will also be performed by professional and university theater artists, in this exciting collaboration with Temple University.

As part of the Play Development Series, Young Playwrights will also present staged readings of winning student plays, offered between April and June, in partnership with several area theater companies including the Arden Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, The University of the Arts, the Walnut Street Theater and The Wilma Theater. The Play Development Series offers an in-depth learning opportunity and brings winning student writers together with professional theater artists to work one-on-one. Each student in the program is paired with a director or dramaturge and works closely to develop their play and create a professional staged reading.

The next scheduled reading in the Play Development Series will be offered on Saturday, April 3 at 11 a.m. at The University of the Arts' Caplan Center for Performing Arts (211 South Broad Street, corner of S. Broad and Walnut). The program will feature two readings: The Road to Recovery by Kiana Crump, a student at Strawberry Mansion High School in North Philadelphia, and My Angel by Shawna Alger, a student at South Philadelphia's Nuemann-Goretti High School. Crump and Alger are currently in rehearsals working with UArts undergraduate theater students.

All of the plays featured in the Saturday Reading Series and Play Development Series are winning plays from the 2009 Annual Playwriting Festival. Over 760 students ranging from kindergarten to twelfth grade in city and suburban schools submitted scripts. Winners were chosen at each grade level, and each student who submitted a play received detailed comments from theater professionals who read his or her script.


Saturday, April 3 at 11 a.m. - Play Development Series
Caplan Center for Performing Arts, 211 South Broad Street, corner of S. Broad and Walnut. Content for is appropriate for high school students and above. Directed by Danielle Brescia and Renée Johnson, undergraduate theatre majors at UArts.

The Road to Recovery by Kiana Crump ~ Strawberry Mansion High School ~ Grade
About: A family deals with an addict parent trying to change.

My Angel by Shawna Alger ~ Nuemann-Goretti High School
About: Peggy must earn her wings in heaven by helping people she left behind on earth.

Saturday, April 10 at 11 a.m. - Saturday Reading Series
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 South 18th Street, Philadelphia. Content is appropriate for all ages. All Saturday Reading Series play summaries are written by the student playwright of the work.

Temple High by Kierra Jones-Fogle ~ St. Francis De Sales School, Grade 6

Directed by Peter Reynolds
Teacher Cecilia Barr ~ Teaching Artist Jackie Ruggerio Jacobson
About: Lashaya Johnson has a scholarship to a number one school, but she wants to do bad things and hang around bad friends.

Falling Apart by Danielle Yampolsky ~ William Penn Charter School, Grade 5
Directed by Peter Reynolds
Teacher Ruth Aichenbaum ~ Teaching Artist Gigi Naglak
About: Falling Apart is about a girl whose parents are getting a divorce.

Saturday, May 1 at 11 a.m. - Saturday Reading Series
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 South 18th Street, Philadelphia. Content is appropriate for all ages.

Sent to Me Was You by Jasmin Burton ~ Morrison School, Grade 8
Directed by Peter Reynolds
Teacher Ilene Poses ~ Teaching Artist Sally Wojick
About: In Sent to Me Was You, Malinda joins a drama program and there she meets her sister and father.

Apollo 64 by Gina Zwicky ~ Strath Haven Middle School, Grade 8
Directed by Peter Reynolds
Teacher Eleanor Salgado ~ Teaching Artist Gerre Gerret and Walt Vail
About: In Apollo 64, a 15-year-old boy injures a child in a car accident. He must come to terms with his guilt while forming a friendship with the victim's brother.

About Philadelphia Young Playwrights
Founded in 1987 by Adele Magner, and led today by Executive Producing Director Glen Knapp, Philadelphia Young Playwrights is an award-winning program that taps the potential of youth and inspires learning through playwriting in more than 50 public and private K-12 schools each year. A leader in the region's educational programs for youth and built upon its primary belief that all students have something important and valuable to say, Young Playwrights has enriched the Greater Philadelphia community, touching the lives of thousands of students, teachers and parents for the past twenty years. Since 1987, approximately 60 professional playwrights have led workshops, and nearly all of Philadelphia's professional theater companies have participated by performing, producing, or directing student works. Nearly 60,000 students have seen peers' work produced in class or by professionals. Young Playwrights' Literary Committee includes more than 60 educators, writers, parents, and former Young Playwrights students who read and critique each student script. Young Playwrights has been recognized as a Champion in Action by Citizens Bank and is the past recipient of a 2005 Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theatre Education and Community Service, a 1997 Barrymore Award for Theatre Education, a 2003 George Bartol Award for Excellence in Arts Education, a national "Points of Light" designation, and a 2004 Eastern University Award for Nonprofit Excellence. For more information about PYP, visit


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