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Date of Issue: January 19, 2006

Playmakers inspire AME writers

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The Magic Snow
Florida Studio Theater actors performed winning student-written plays in the media center at Anna Maria Elementary School to inspire students to write their own play for the 2006 Young Playwrights Festival. Here, FST actors perform "The Magic Snow," a poignant play penned by a Manatee County second-grader about making a wish - for a father to come home from Iraq - before the first snow hits the ground so that it will come true.

Florida Studio Theater's Playmakers group came to Anna Maria Elementary School to inspire second- through fifth-grade students to let their imaginations and emotions help them carve out a good play.

Yes, once again, it's time for the Young Playwrights Festival competition. Each entry will receive a certificate of achievement. Approximately 100 plays receive an honorable mention and the Florida Studio Theatre performs a select group of student plays at schools throughout the area.

FST actors performed several student-written selections from the 2005 festival in the school's new media center, in addition to guiding AME students in scripting scenes for on-the-spot performances.

Through their performance, the playmakers taught students the key ingredients to writing a play — setting, characters, dialogue and conflict.

This year's plays showed students that it's OK to explore emotions like sadness, that friends stick together, and that you can never be too little to dream big.

Each year the festival draws thousands of entries, and in 2005 student entries came from students as far as Russia and Scotland. Now in its 13th year, the program has reached one million students.

Writers can submit as many plays as they wish as long as they follow the guidelines below:

  • The contest is open to all students in kindergarten through 12th-grade.
  • Plays should be one to five pages in length.
  • There is no restriction on style, subject or form.
  • Collaborations are permitted.
  • Scripts must be typed or printed and stapled or bound.
  • Scripts must have a cover page, including date of submission, title of play, name, date of birth, home address and phone number, school address, grade level and teacher.

A copy of the original play must be submitted by Feb. 13 to the Young Playwrights Festival, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota FL 34236. Scripts will not be returned.

For more information, call Jim Ragona at 366-9017, or visit the theater Web site at www.fst2000.org and click on the link for "Write a Play/In the Schools."

A new feature of the Web site is a link for festival alumni. The alumni page lists past winners and their current achievements.

AME students have a history of penning winning plays. Past Island winners interested in sharing their current endeavors with FST can e-mail megana@fst2000.org.