I recently had the pleasure of once again directing for the Young American Writers Project Middle School Playwrights Festival at Stony Brook Southampton. The play that I directed was the final project of one of the students in a 7th grade social studies classroom. The principal was gracious enough to allow the Teaching Artists to push into a social studies classroom, (normally it would be English), but his one stipulation was that the students must write in the time period in which they were learning about. To me, this was no easy task, but the playwright that I worked with made it look effortless. Her play, “Our Little Secret”, revolved around two best friends, Abby and Ben, and their quest to give the founding fathers a lesson or two during the drafting of the Articles of Confederation. It was AWESOME.
Their first day at the theater the actors tried on their costumes, which were period pieces. In the days of jeans and Uggs and flip-flops, it was very exciting to see fellow classmates dressed up in petticoats and aprons and knickers. When the playwright saw the actors in their costumes, her immediate reaction was, “Oh my God you made my dreams come true in one day!” They reminded me why I love to teach theater. Their excitement and their thirst for knowledge was just contagious.
Some information from the YAWP website:
The Young American Writers Project created by Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Writing and Literature Program, is dedicated to mentoring middle and high school students in the development of creative expression and critical thinking through writing.
The goals of YAWP include:
• To enhance critical thinking, collaboration and communications skills.
• To help each student find and develop his or her unique voice and point of view.
• To use creative expression as a way to solve problems and promote global awareness.
• To advance 21st century skills while supporting ELA requirements.
• To expose students to the unique creative programs and resources of Stony Brook Southampton, including the annual Southampton Writer’s Conference.
There are many goals and benefits to this program, but, The Young American Writers Project (YAWP), is, in my opinion, invaluable. It’s THAT good.
Live, Love, Learn,
The Write Teacher