In September, the Bobcat Players introduced a student playwrights program to the Beaver Area School District for students in grades 3-12. The program, spearheaded as an Outreach initiative, aligns perfectly with the Bobcat Players' core mission of bringing quality theater into the local community. Throughout October and November, writing workshops were offered each Monday after school in the Beaver Area MS-HS Library. Beaver Area MS-HS librarian and Bobcat Players board member, Erin Bechdel hosted the workshops and assisted students with their writing. Additionally, special sessions were held with local author, Wende Dikec, and Bobcat Players’ Artistic Director and resident playwright, Patti Ross, for students to discuss ideas and writing one-acts. In November, four one-act plays were submitted for review. They were: The Prince Who Ran by Samantha Lindemann (Grade 7); After Dead by Audrey Maize and Owen Eastman (Grade 8); Chloe Meets Middle School by Amara Stewart (Grade 7), and The Runaway Bandit by Sophia Hahn (Grade 7).
Beginning in January, the playwrights met with Bechdel and Ross to revise and edit their one-act plays for performance. This was an arduous task for the young playwrights, but all did an excellent job paring their ideas and scripts into a 20-minute or less one-act play. Once the plays were revised, rehearsals for readers theater began. Each show was cast with student actors, and a few members of the Bobcat Players. Actors included: Seth Smallwood (Grade 12), Grace Jessel (Grade 9), Abby Kohrmann (Grade 11), Eli Priest (Grade 8), Jordan Lohry (Grade 7), Cailin Downer (Grade 7), Elle Taylor (Grade 7), Audrey Maize, Amara Stewart, Samantha Lindemann, Sophia Hahn, Casey Novak (Bobcat Players board members), and Patti Ross. Each show was presented on Thursday, February 21 for friends and family in the Ed Shaughency Theater. Tech for the evening was provided by Joshua Antoon, President of the Bobcat Players.
The first Student Playwrights program was a success in our eyes. The students expressed how much fun they had participating in this program. They realized the difficulty of putting ideas to page and then to stage, but also realized the hard work is all worth it when your play is performed. As the Bobcat Players Outreach committee continues to consider ways of bringing theater into our local community, we hope to continue our partnership with the Beaver Area School District and extend to others in the area. Stay tuned for updates here at our blog and check out the pictures below from the performance!