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 for 25 years 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. More than 60,000 young people have participated directly as playwrights and audience members, seeing their 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.
Philadelphia Young Playwrights Appoints Two New Members to the Board, Launches “Student Council”
Aron Magner, musician and founding member of The Disco Biscuits, Lori Odum, veteran School District of Philadelphia teacher
PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Young Playwrights (PYP), the award winning theatre arts program that promotes literacy through playwriting in more than 50 public and private K-12 schools each year, announces the recent appointment of Aron Magner, Philadelphia-based musician and founding member of The Disco Biscuits, and long-time School District of Philadelphia literacy teacher Lori Odum to the organization’s Board of Directors. Young Playwrights also announces the launch of an advisory level Youth Council to the board comprised of middle and high school student representatives from schools across the Greater Philadelphia community.
Aron Magner, the son of Adele and Alan Magner, has a long-standing, intimate family connection with Young Playwrights. Aron’s mother Adele Magner conceived and founded Philadelphia Young Playwrights in 1986, launching the program during the 1987-88 school-year. Young Playwrights soon emerged as a groundbreaking tool for classroom teachers to inspire students’ literacy learning and creativity. Young Playwrights mourned the passing of Adele in 2000. Aron’s father Alan Magner also serves on the board. Aron is the keyboardist and founding member of the electronica-jam fusion band, The Disco Biscuits, a nationally touring band which formed in the mid-90s at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lori Odum has been a teacher for nearly 23 years, working in the School District of Philadelphia for 17 years and at the General George G. Meade School in North Philadelphia for the past 10 years.A literacy teacher, Lori joins the board as an education expert. A long-time supporter, Lori regularly integrates Young Playwrights into her curriculum through the organization’s core program of classroom playwriting workshops. She is a two-time Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ Adele Magner Memorial Award winner, having won the honor for her outstanding work in 2010 and 2007.
“We are both proud and thankful to welcome Aron and Lori to the Young Playwrights family,” says Glen Knapp, Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ Executive Producing Director. “Aron represents a forward thinking, younger generation of philanthropists inspired by community change, and we’re excited to bring him on board in a new light. Lori’s commitment to Young Playwrights is inspiring. She has a true passion for her students, teaching, and Philadelphia schools, and will bring with her an educator’s perspective to the board. As always, we are particularly thrilled to include student voices at the board table with the addition of the expanded Youth Council this year.”
Students involved in the Youth Council will represent the student voice of the Young Playwrights program, attend board meetings, and serve as advisors to the board. Youth Council members will also engage directly with their school communities as Young Playwrights ambassadors. As the school-year progresses, Youth Council members will play a key role in Young Playwrights’ Play Development Series programming and special events, introducing Young Playwrights to their classmates. The council will include students who have expressed an interest in staying active within the Young Playwrights community beyond the classroom, including many winners of past Annual Playwriting Festival competitions and summer Artistic Team Retreat attendees.
Young Playwrights’ programs provide students with unique opportunities to advance academic and personal skills, share their stories and be heard by their peers and communities. The organization offers an antidote to decreasing arts education and places an incredibly active learning process in the eager hands of our young people.
More About the New Board Members
Aron Magner is the keyboardist and founding member of The Disco Biscuits, a lively and respected rock band that has gained national and international prominence since first forming while Aron was attending the University of Pennsylvania 15 years ago. While growing up in the Philadelphia area, both the arts and Philadelphia’s music community have always been important to Aron. He has long been a supporter of music and arts education programs through his endeavors with non-profits such as HeadCount, USTORM, and Grounded in Music. In addition to touring with his band, he has helped raise money and awareness through organizing and performing at various benefit concerts. Most recently, Aron helped raise $15,000 towards the purchase of a solar panel installation for the Greenfield Elementary School in Philadelphia. He looks forward to helping Philadelphia Young Playwrights continue the work his mother, Adele Magner, began more than 20 years ago.Aron currently splits his time between the tour bus and his home in South Philadelphia with his wife.
A veteran school teacher, Lori Odum has worked in the School District of Philadelphia for 17 years. She is currently a literacy teacher at the General George G. Meade School in North Philadelphia. Lori is two-time Adele Magner Memorial Award winner, having won the honor for her outstanding work in 2010 and 2007. The award recognizes the work of an outstanding Young Playwrights team: a student, a teacher, and a teaching artist for whom the program has made a significant difference in their lives. The criteria for this award reflect the three qualities which Adele (founder of PYP) admired the most: collaboration, transformation and perseverance. In 2009, Lori was also chosen as one of the faces to represent African American women with breast cancer by the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and was featured on highway billboards. Lori currently lives in Lansdowne, PA with her husband and family.
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|Aron Magner performing with The Disco Biscuits (photo by Dave Vann).jpg||511.57 KB|
|2010 Adele Magner Memorial Award Winning Team featuring Lori Odum (left).jpg||621.54 KB|
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