New Jersey high school students from West-Windsor Plainsboro High School South, South Hunterdon Regional High School, and Neptune High School, along with their teachers, will gather at McCarter Theatre Center for the 9th Annual Youth Ink! Festival of Plays, Playwrights, and Playwriting on today, May 31. The 2011-2012 Youth Ink! Program is sponsored by Verizon Foundation.
The Youth Ink! Program, conducted across the state for more than 100 high school students annually, aims to expose students to playwriting as a form of artistic express and to empower them as young playwrights. Through the residencies, students are introduced to the basic elements of playwriting through play-reading, scene writing, play-going, and guided discussions.
The Youth Ink! Festival is a culmination of the year-long residency, and will bring together every student and educator who participated in a residency or workshop during this school year in the same place at the same time for a day-long playwrights’ party. The celebration will include a number of special guest artists in the form of professional playwrights and creators of theater who will celebrate the work of the playwright and provide additional out-of-the-residency-box educational opportunities in the form of workshops and continue the conversation on the craft of playwriting in an open forum. This year’s special guests, among others, will include McCarter’s artistic director/resident playwright Emily Mann and Tony Award nominated book writer David Thompson. These two acclaimed writers will be on the panel, Playwrights in Conversation, moderated by McCarter’s Director of Education, Christopher T. Parks.
Youth Ink! participant plays selected by members of McCarter’s Education and Artistic staff for professional readings during the day are For You I Sing by Aini Sun, West Windsor Plainsboro High School South; The Art of Mattering by Allison Nugent, Neptune High School; and, At The Edge by Julia Maier, South Hunterdon Regional High School. Additionally, students from their respective high schools will give readings of How to Remember by Kyle Bogdan, South Hunterdon Regional High School; The Minute Differences by Gujri Singh, West Windsor Plainsboro High School South; The Game of Love by Brandon Cornett, Neptune High School. Later that evening at 7:00 p.m., the McCarter selected plays by Ms. Sun, Ms. Nugent, and Ms. Maier will be given an additional reading for family, friends, and funders in the Berlind Rehearsal Room.
According to Shamsuddin Abdul-Hamid, who participated in the 2010 Youth Ink! program while a student at Arts High School in Newark, “Having a short play performed in the Youth Ink! Festival is still the highlight of my high school experience. It allowed me to share my unique background with people whose values and love for their craft complemented mine.” Mr. Abdul-Hamid is currently studying acting at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts.
The Youth Ink! Festival is co-produced by Paula T. Alekson, McCarter’s Director of High School Programs, and Jim Murtha, Education Program Manager. Ms. Alekson also serves as the festival’s artistic director. To reserve a seat for the 7:00 pm readings, please call (609) 258-8288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education programs are made possible by: The Bernstein Family Foundation; Mary Owen Borden Foundation; Dow Jones Foundation; Inc.; The William Randolph Hearst Foundation; The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey; Investors Savings Bank Charitable Foundation; Janssen, L.P.; The J. Seward Johnson Sr. 1963 Charitable Trust; Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies; The Josephine Peiser Charitable Foundation, Inc; The McGraw Hill Companies; NRG Energy; Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Princeton Financial Systems and State Street Foundation, Inc.; PSEG; Tyco International; Verizon Foundation; and Wells Fargo.