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Volume 24, Number 9 — September 2017

Playwrights Fest winners announced

 Young Playwrights Festival recognized regional high school students for writing outstanding original plays.
Young Playwrights Festival recognized regional high school students for writing outstanding original plays.

December 04, 2016

ABINGDON, VA — Barter Theatre held its annual Young Playwrights Festival recognizing regional high school students for writing outstanding original plays. This year's winners represented four states, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia.

Designed to encourage creativity and develop writing skills, YPF is in its fifteenth year of consecutive growth. Katy Brown, director of YPF, said, "We broke all records for the Young Playwrights Festival this year. We reviewed 608 plays written by 394 playwrights. More than 20 teachers participated from 14 schools. What a great year."

The festival fosters interest in theater arts and writing among high school students. After learning playwriting in the classroom, students submit 10-minute plays to Brown and her team for critique. This year, readers selected three winners from the more than 600 plays. Awards for the winning playwrights include a unique mentorship opportunity with Barter Theatre professionals, live staging experiences in front of audiences with The Barter Players, cash and other prizes.

Brown said, "It is amazing to see students get so excited about literature. Our two morning performances felt more like pep rallies than academic recognition."

This year's winning play, "Blackthorn's Feast: A Play in One Act," was written by H. Avery Smith of Chilhowie High School. Second place was awarded to "Melbourne Heist" by Emily Roberts and Elizabeth Harrison from Tennessee High School. "The Liberation" by Rachel Gardner from Daniel Boone High School took third place.

Five student plays were chosen to receive an honorable mention:"Fragile" By Emily Brooks of Alleghany High School, "Judgment Day" by Sakota Blevins of Tennessee High School, "The Revolutionary Twitter War" by Harrison Stewart of Marion Senior High School, "Unjustified" by Madeline Good and Kiara Hall of Tennessee High School and "From the Ashes" by James Kendall Funk of Marion Senior High School.

The 2016 Young Playwrights Festival is made possible by corporate sponsorship from Crutchfield, the Williams-Berry Foundation, First Bank & Trust Company, Speedway Children's Charities and the Virginia Retired Teachers Association, District 1. The Young Playwrights Festival also thanks Virginia Tech.