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’ Annual Benefit Write On! A Celebration of Student Voices, Tuesday, May 3rd at World Café Live
Celebrates 23 years of tapping the potential of youth through playwriting
Write On! Honorees include Dr. Samuel Hirsch, Diane Dalto Woosnam and Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes
Special guests include Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown; Steve Highsmith to host; Program to feature performances of winning student plays
WHEN: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 – Benefit begins at 6:00 p.m. with a reception
7 p.m. Write On! Stage Show performance
8 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Write On! Closing Party
WHERE: World Café Live
3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
WHO: Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes, Dr. Samuel Hirsch, Diane Dalto Woosnam, Honorable Blondell Reynolds Brown, Lynne and Harold Honickman, Virginia and Harvey Kimmel, Andrea Mengel, Carole and Joseph Shanis, and Susan Sherman; Philadelphia Young Playwrights Executive Producing Director Glen Knapp and other PYP staff; Young Playwrights Board and Celebration Committee members Larry and Shelly Beaser, Karen B. Davis, Leslie Kase and Andrew Swinney, Thelma and Harvey Reese, Suzanne and Ralph Roberts, Erika Von Tiehl, June and Steve Wolfson, among others; student playwrights; teachers; teaching artists; actors; and other community leaders.
WHAT: Philadelphia Young Playwrights (PYP) will hold its annual benefit, Write On! A Celebration of Student Voices, on Tuesday, May 3rd from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at World Café Live, located at 3025 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.The benefit will open with a cocktail reception, followed by an awards ceremony, live performance of student written plays, and a closing party.
The celebration highlights the transformative effects of the Philadelphia Young Playwrights experience as the organization salutes three remarkable advocates who have made a lasting impact on the organization. 2011 honorees include President’s Award recipient Dr. Samuel Hirsch, Vice President, Student Affairs, Community College of Philadelphia, Distinguished Service Award recipient Diane Dalto Woosnam, Chair, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Civics Award recipient Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes, Senate Minority Appropriations Committee Chair.
Special guests include Mayor of Philadelphia Michael A. Nutter, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Write On! Committee Member and ex officio of the Young Playwrights Board of Directors, alongside Virginia and Harvey Kimmel, and many other Young Playwrights supporters, student playwrights, teachers, artists and other community leaders.
During Write On! the organization will also honor a teacher, teaching artist and student for the team’s exemplary collaboration, perseverance and transformation in the Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ program with the annual Adele Magner Memorial Award — established to honor the memory of Young Playwrights’ founder, Adele Magner. Recipients to be announced.
Steve Highsmith will host the evening. Highsmith is the Director of Community Relations at myphl17 and host of Live @ Issue on NBC-10 Philadelphia and In Focus on myphl17. The program will include a cocktail reception followed by the awards presentations and inspiring performances of scenes and monologues from the winners of the 2010 Young Playwrights’ Annual Playwriting Festival, directed by David O’Connor. Student writers who will see their original work performed include William Penn Charter School student Alex Dworetzky, Haley Gordon of Cheltenham High School, Lyn Nguyen, a student at Upper Darby High School, Academy of Palumbo student AJ King.
Honorary Chairs of the Write On! Celebration include Honorable Blondell Reynolds Brown, Lynne and Harold Honickman, Virginia and Harvey Kimmel, Andrea Mengel, Carole and Joseph Shanis, and Susan Sherman.
ABOUT THE HONOREES
President’s Awardrecipient Dr. Samuel Hirsch is a Founding Board Member of Philadelphia Young Playwrights and longtime friend of organization founder Adele Magner. From elementary school to college, Dr. Hirsch is a huge supporter of the power of student voices. Dr. Hirsch became the Vice President for Student Affairs at Community College of Philadelphia in 2006. As the College’s Chief Student Affairs Officer, he plays a pivotal role in collaborating with others to develop and improve policies, programs, and services aimed at supporting student learning, satisfaction, and success. Dr. Hirsch’s long-term commitment to college access, student development and success, is demonstrated by his accomplished record of developing countless number of student support programs and services along with a wide range of partnerships that successfully facilitates the transition for students from secondary education through an associate degree and into baccalaureate degree programs. He serves on several non-profit boards related to improving educational opportunities in Philadelphia.
A long time arts administrator, Distinguished Service Award recipient Diane Dalto Woosnam is currently Chairman of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Previously, she served as Director of the Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Philadelphia and Co-Chairman of the Arts, Culture and History Transition Team for the Governor of Pennsylvania. Central to her career has always been the importance of the arts to neighborhood transformation and the economic development of cities. During her tenure with the City of Philadelphia, The Avenue of the Arts development project, including seven performing arts venues as well as a High School and a University for the Performing Arts became the centerpiece of the City’s redevelopment of its former commercial center. Her office oversaw the creation of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and the revitalization of the City’s Public Art and Art in City Hall programs. Woosnam also Co-Chaired Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Long Range Regional Cultural Planning process. She sits on the Boards of numerous local, regional and national arts organizations, including The Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, Arden Theatre Company, Pennsylvania Public Television Network, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philadelphia Art Alliance, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and Artspace, Inc.
Philadelphia Young Playwrights presents Senator Vincent Hughes with the Civics Award in recognition of his dedication to at risk youth through strategic education and scholarship initiatives, and his career-long commitment to making the Philadelphia region a better place to live and work. Senator Hugheshas been a member of the Pennsylvania Senate representing the 7th Senatorial District since November 1994. In November 2010, Senator Hughes was elected Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. As the Democratic Chairman, Senator Hughes plays a key role in developing Pennsylvania’s annual budget and establishing the state’s spending priorities. Over the years, Senator Hughes has worked on numerous issues. From political empowerment to creating jobs, and from expanding health insurance to the uninsured to the rebuilding of neighborhoods, Senator Hughes has used his position to provide solutions and services to people often times when they have nowhere else to go. In 2011, Sentator Hughes was elected Senate Minority Appropriations Committee Chair.
Senator Hughes has been recognized both locally and nationally for his work on HIV/AIDS, and the chalomelenges of mental/behavioral health in the African-American community. His commitment to creating access to college is demonstrated through his service on the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the Cheyney University Council of Trustees. Senator Hughes and his family have also established the James Hughes Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor of his late father. The fund has given out more than $1 million in scholarships to over 400 students.
Prior to joining the Senate, Senator Hughes served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1987 to1994. While a member of the Pennsylvania House, Senator Hughes chaired the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus from 1991 to 1994.
ABOUT THE PLAYS & PLAYWRIGHTS
Following the reception and awards ceremony, Write On! guests will enjoy performances of winning student plays and monologues from the 2010 Young Playwrights’ Annual Playwriting Festival, directed by David O’Connor.
The program will feature a performance of The Quest for Adventure by Alex Dworetzky, a 6th grader at the William Penn Charter School in Germantown. Alex’s play tells the story of two brothers who sneak out at night to seek adventure together.
The award-winning monologue Thoughts Can Fly by Haley Gordon, a 9th grade student at Cheltenham High School in Montgomery County, will also be performed. Haley’s monologue was selected for the 2011 Young Voices Monologue Festival at InterAct Theatre Company. It follows a young man in his humorous search for answers to the questions that plague us all: Why are we here? What is our purpose in the world? Why do we even ask these questions?
Haley is a long-time Young Playwrights’ participant. She first got involved with the organization while in third grade when her classes’ group play was selected as a winner. Haley is now a member of Young Playwrights’ Youth Council, which serves as an advisory body to the Board of Directors. “With all the plays, you’ll be able to sense moments of seeing our generation, seeing our plays as an open door to our world,” says Haley.
On the Way by Lyn Nguyen, a 12th grader at Upper Darby High School in Delaware County, examines the lives of a Vietnamese family after the Vietnam War, the unraveling of a father, and a tragic love story. Lyn is a member of the Youth Council, alongside Haley Gordon. On the Way was first performed in November 2010 at Young Playwrights’ New Voices: Workshop Productions at Temple University. “I saw my play come to life from beginning to end, and it was the most amazing rush ever!” says Lyn.
Instead of shooting hoops, a young man satisfies his passion for basketball by pursuing a writing career in the monologue I Wanna Fly…by AJ King, an 11th grade student at Academy of Palumbo in South Philadelphia. “When you write something that comes from the heart, it’s really emotional every time you hear it,” says AJ.
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS
Philadelphia Young Playwrights, led today by Executive Producing Director Glen Knapp, 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. Now in its 23rd year, the organization remains the only theater arts program in the region promoting literacy through playwriting and supporting the development of each student’s distinctive voice.
Each year, the Young Playwrights program pairs Philadelphia-based theater professionals with individual classroom teachers and works closely with them to integrate playwriting into the curriculum. By teaching students to draw on their own personal experiences and imaginations during the creation of their plays, Young Playwrights helps them improve their writing, literacy and problem solving skills while simultaneously strengthening self-expression.
Young Playwrights offers an antidote to diminishing arts education and places an incredibly compelling learning process in the eager hands of our young people. For many students, working with Young Playwrights is a life changing experience, shaping new views of themselves as writers, artists and successful individuals. When students write about their lives, they are empowered to change them. The program’s success can be measured by the growing level of self-confidence, increased literacy and community activism that its participants experience. PYP students’ voices and plays have powerful impacts upon audiences of all ages.
Write On! tickets start at $125, with admission for PYP students, PYP alumni and PYP teachers/teaching artists available for $50. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.PhillyYoungPlaywrights.org or by calling Young Playwrights’ Lindsay Mauck at (215) 665-9226. The benefitserves as a fundraiser for Young Playwrights’ programs and services for students, teachers, and schoolsthroughout the year.
Write On! Event Sponsors (to date)
The Philadelphia Foundation
Volunteerism | Outreach | Involvement | Community | Education
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Canary Promotion, (215) 690-4065
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