Hilliard Northwest News

Young Writers Short Play Festival

Students' work on center stage at MadLab Theatre


The work of nine student playwrights will be featured this summer at MadLab Theatre's 2013 Young Writers Short Play Festival.

Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, July 26-Aug. 10, at MadLab Theatre, 227 N. Third St., Columbus.

Tickets are $12 per person; $10 for students and senior citizens and $8 for MadLab members. They may be purchased online at madlab.net or by calling 614-221-5418.

Michelle Batt, artistic outreach director, said the short plays were written by Columbus area high school students.

Batt also directs some of the plays and is managing director at MadLab. She said the playwrights guide the students in revising the plays.

"One of the most important things we do at MadLab is to make the writer important and help them know that the writer's vision is key," she said. "At the same time, the vision of the student benefits from the collaboration and vision of the director."

Two student playwrights are from Hilliard Bradley High School: Kinsey Cantrell and Abigail Goodhart, who wrote Priestly and Aunt Elly, respectively.

The other young playwrights are recent Upper Arlington High School graduate Anna Mulhall, who wrote Little Red; Upper Arlington senior Lexy Weixel, who wrote Dead End; Hannah Russell, Columbus Alternative High School, author of Closing Closet Doors; Em Hammett, The Wellington School, Married to Melinda Reuben Foster; Sarah Fornshell, Columbus Academy, Sweet Nothings; Amelia Koontz, CAHS, In Love and War and Emily Cipriani, Columbus Academy, Neither Here Nor There.

"We send out information on the submission process early in the year and teachers connect with students to help them submit their plays," Batt said. "From there, we choose which students our professional playwrights will work with.

"The playwrights help the students hone and polish the shows, then we do two stage readings before the student submits a final draft, which is what we produce for the show."

She said the plays are about 15 pages long, which translates to roughly 10 minutes on stage.

"We had 35 submissions this year at the beginning of the program," she said.

Batt said the MadLab playwrights help choose the students and plays.

"We have five playwright mentors and each gets two students to work with," she said.

Once the students finish their plays, they are able to come to auditions and rehearsals, sitting in on every aspect of producing, Batt said. Some even act in the productions.