Each year, staff and volunteers at Florida Studio Theatre read through thousands of plays submitted by elementary, middle and high school students for its Young Playwrights Festival. Winning plays get produced in "Under Six" (pieces written by those in kindergarten through sixth grade) and "Seven Up" (works by middle and high school students).
This year, the theater received more than 3,000 plays from the Sarasota area, as well as across the state and overseas. Many of the young writers were inspired by the theater's touring Write-a-Play program, which sends teams of actors to schools to show students how to come up with ideas and put them into play form.
"Each year, I marvel at the creativity and heart the students so willingly share," said Education Director Beth Duda. "Their writing is powerful and pure. From plays of great humor to adventure stories, to plays that show us the painful realities of life, these writers move us and illuminate their world for us."
The winning plays are presented in the style of Story Theatre, with narrators setting up situations and actors then bringing the tales to life. Thousands of school students, many of whom participated in the writing program, will see performances of "Under Six."
The winning playwrights will be honored during ceremonies on May 10, which also will include performances of "Under Six" and "Seven Up."
This year's winners are:
"Chomp!" by Phillippi Shores Elementary IB World School, Ms. Williams – 1st Grade
"A Flash Into Time" by Joshua Fitzgerald, Sarasota Christian School, Mrs. Spraker– 5th Grade
"Hand Kisser" by Logan Wendell, Rowlett Magnet Elementary, Ms. McDaniel– 5th Grade
"Lost in Space" by Zackary Asbridge, Garden Elementary, Ms. Burkett– 5th Grade
"Mr. E and the Case of the Stolen Jewel!" by Nicholas Paredes, Fruitville Elementary, Mrs. Cain- 5th Grade
"One Stuck Rock" by Luke Downes, Sarasota Christian School, Mrs. Spraker– 5th Grade
"Peter’s Homework" by Logan Schultz, Garden Elementary, Mrs. Ionescu– 4th Grade
"The Princess and the Guitar" by Ada Borovikov, Yamit School, Ms. Chesnokova & Ms. Rassami– 6th Grade
"Snowy and Winter on Their Adventure" by Pearl Azeroual-Dray, Swan Azeroual-Dray and Hannah Kremer, Miami Country Day School, Mrs. Kurk & Mrs. Robert– 5th Grade
"Tears By The Lake" by Haydn Sage, Miami Country Day School, Mrs. Kurk & Mrs. Robert– 5th Grade
"The TV Time Machine" by Emma Carter, Sigsbee Charter School, Ms. Beutelspacher– 4th Grade
"Time Out" by Seth Stahlmann, Generation Harvest, Mrs. Stahlmann– 6th Grade
"Trading Up!" by Nash Klein, Gulf Gate Elementary, Ms. McKenzie – 1st Grade
"Uh Oh! Not Again!" by Torrica Green, Emma E. Booker Elementary, Ms. T. Williams– 4th Grade
"The Book" by Skyler Stahlmann, Generation Harvest, Mrs. Stahlmann– 9th Grade
"The Four Emotions of the Tear" by Kara Mhairi Clare McAuley and Aleksandra Radomska, St. Columba’s High School, Miss McDonald – 9th Grade
"Grandpa’s Photo" by Lia Silber, Shelanu School, Tami Philosoph– 7th Grade
"Jonathan" by Jakob Silver and Kassidy St. Clair, Booker Middle School, Ms. Mills –7th & 8th Grade
"The Magic Word" by Alisa Konysheva, Humanitarian Linguistic Gymnasium #23, Ms. Marina Trubitsyna– 7th Grade
"Music is Destiny" by Katie Carlsen, Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School, Mrs. Elisha– 6th Grade
"Picture of Destiny" by Anastasia Narsullaeva, Humanitarian Linguistic Gymnasium #23, Ms. Tatyana Semenova– 9th Grade
"Under the Master’s Bed" by Isaiah Hernandez, Roubainns Lavaud and Hoyace McClain, Pompano Beach Middle School, Ms. Rogers– 8th Grade
For more information about "Under Six" and "Seven Up," contact Florida Studio Theatre: 366-9000; floridastudiotheatre.org