The Visions and Voices Playwriting Festival is a program created to promote literacy and writing skills, as well as a love for the theatre. The festival began as a partnership with Bedford Road School in Pleasantville and now includes partnerships with Pocantico School & Grafflin Schools, with the hope to reach even more schools and students in the future. Our goal is to work with local schools to introduce students to the world of the stage and self-expression, as well as to excite and inspire them to write plays. This program helps develop creativity and literacy competencies and also supports the common core through integration of our workshops and exercises with the ELA curriculum map and teaching plans of the teachers.
Actor & Playwright John Cariani giving out Visions and Voices Playwriting Awards at our first festival in 2016.
Major Project Activities
The project engages with students and teachers over the course of several months.
Participating classes visit Arc Stages. The students see a short performance of inspirational mini plays written by children who have previously participated in the playwriting program (45 min), which will include a talk back with the actors (15 min), as well as a tour of the theatre (15 min) and a session of theatre games/exercises related to storytelling and playwriting structure (30 min).
Arc Stages visits classes at the school to present a 30 minute show about playwriting. This is an interactive show with music. After the show and Q&A, the actors/teaching artists go into the classrooms to work with the students on playwriting skills. The teaching artists help the students to begin to write short plays (1-3 pages). These workshops would last a class period (50 minutes). Teachers will continue to work with the students to write and rewrite these plays to submit them by the due date.
Classes return to Arc Stages to view the selected plays from the submissions that the students wrote. The plays will be performed by professional actors at Arc (1 hour show) with a talk back with the actors after the show (15 min).
The selected playwrights return to Arc Stages for a special viewing of the selected plays and an Award Ceremony to receive their awards for being selected playwrights. Schedule permitting, an award winning playwright will present the awards and media will be present. Every student who submits a play, whether it is selected to be performed or not, receives an award for having the courage to write!
Play by Adrienne Grunspan from the first Visions and Voices Playwriting Festival in 2016.
Selected Playwrights at the 2016 Visions and Voices Playwriting Festival