Arts preview: Young Writers Short Play Festival shows off area talent

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From the July 25, 2013 edition

“Young writers do not write about what you would consider ‘teen’ subject matter,” explained Michelle Batt, anaging director of MadLab and, with Becky Horseman, co-coordinator of the company’s Second Annual Young Writers Short Play Festival.

It turns out that Central Ohio’s high school playwrights concern themselves with the same topics as their adult counterparts: “life, love, death, coming of age, and the acceptance of diverse people in your family or the community,” Batt said. “The subject matter this year in particular has centered mostly around death.There are many different struggles, life lessons and relationships that surround death… Overall, I think the biggest thing to remember is that young people are emerging adults and they understand life and life circumstances better than I think most people give them credit for.

Plays by nine young women from Columbus Academy (Emily Cipriani and Sarah Fornshell), Columbus Alternative Amelia Koontz Hannah RussellHilliard Bradley Kinsey Cantrell and Abigail GoodhartUpper Arlington Anna MulhallLexy Weixel) and The Wellington School Em Hammett) made it through MadLab’s rigorous selection process, readings, mentoring, auditions, and rehearsals.

“Many schools these days are cutting creative programs that help to foster the future of our industry, and we believe it’s our duty to continue helping students pursue their dreams,” says Batt. “We want to be able to give the students the confidence to keep writing… to be able to put on their resume for college that they are a produced playwright. How many 16-yearolds can say that?”