Do you have a young budding Neil Simon or Will Shakespeare living at your home? If so, maybe he or she is a finalist in the Hartford Stage's Young Playwrights for Change Competition held during the month of January in Hartford. Three free workshops were conducted at the Hartford Stage Education Center, 942 Main Street, Hartford for middle schoolers from Connecticut and neighboring states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
The contest question was "What is Family?" and students were encouraged to explore situations about single parents, biracial, adopted, gay and lesbian and blended families and their home life, 8-10 pages in length, and last 10 minutes on stage. The top four plays will have a staged reading by Hartford Stage's Youth Studio and Adult Acting Classes. The free performances will take place Saturday, March 21 at 2 p.m. at the Classical Magnet School, 85 Woodland Street, Hartford.
Winning top honors is Daniel Coppinger, an eighth grader at the Henry James Memorial School in Simsbury. His play, "Who is My Family?" focuses on a 13 year old boy from Korea being raised by a Caucasian mother and father. He questions where and how he belongs. Coppinger's entry will be included in an anthology with other regional winners. He used his own personal experiences as an adopted child to inform his play. Although never having written a play before, he "is happy to know that my hard work has paid off."
Other students from the Henry James Memorial School in Simsbury took honors for second and third place, Kevin Kurian, an eighth grader, for his play
Promise" and Lindsay Madigan, an eighth grader, for her play, "Coming Together." Another eighth grader, Carter K. Brown, from the Sage Park Middle School in Windsor, won an honorable mention for her play "Sky Blu."
This is the second year of this national competition that encourages young students to develop their writing skills. Ashley Baker, Resident Teaching Artist at Hartford Stage, coordinated this literary effort. Come and cheer on these enterprising youth as they exercise their growing talents as writers.
Perhaps one day in the not so distant future the Hartford Stage will raise the curtain on one of their creative works as a world premiere.