We asked our authors the questions, "Is there a theatre company or organization with which you've had a particularly good working experience on one of your plays for youth? What made the experience particularly good? How did you participate?" Below are three of the replies...
Lynn-Steven Johanson writes to us:
"I have only worked with two children's companies, but one of them went above and beyond expectations. That was the East Valley Children's Theatre in Mesa, Arizona.
When my play, A Tale from the North Woods, won the EVCT playwriting contest, they brought me out from Illinois with all expenses paid. I met with the director, the cast, and watched the performance, which was wonderfully acted, directed, and designed... A writer could not ask for a better experience."
Greg Romero says:
"I have worked with a couple companies who offered good experiences-- Space 55 in Phoenix, and Kate Rubin Theatre and Drama Studio in Victoria, British Columbia. Both companies were thoughtful in their communications with me, both providing generous thoughts about the process and presentation of my work.
Two additional companies have far surpassed my own expectations: Little Fish Theatre Collaborative in Hammonton, New Jersey, and Plays and Players in Philadelphia. Both companies commissioned me to write new works for youth for them, and both were highly supportive and trusting of what I was making. Each company offered a highly creative and thoughtful developmental process, inviting me to participate as much as I liked, often asking how the process could best work for the development of the play. And each company has been wonderfully innovative in their approaches to working, and in the presentation of the play. Of Plastic Things and Butterfly Wings, commissioned by Little Fish, has already enjoyed a very full and rewarding life in performance and publication, and Delaware Mudtub and the Mighty Wampum, commissioned as part of Plays and Players' PLAY (Philadelphia Local Artists for Youth) Program, is currently in development for a spring 2014 production, of which I am thrilled in anticipation of."
Stacy Davidowitz tells us:
"I wanted to mention Rag and Bone Theater Company, a NYC-based theater company that helped develop the musical Hank & Gretchen, published by YouthPLAYS. Artistic Director Dan Balkin created a three-hour workshop with both elementary school and adult actors that involved lots of improvisation and Viewpoints exercises around the play's theme: Candy. It was a ton of fun, and dramaturgically, super helpful.
I absolutely participated in the whole workshop with the actors, at times taking a step back to observe or write down ideas. And what would be the point, if I also didn't eat candy? There was also a piñata at the end!"
Thank you Lynn-Steven, Greg, and Stacy, for sharing your experiences, and thank you to all the organizations and people who are thoughtfully and enthusiastically bringing theatre for youth to life.