Barter Theatre recently held its Fifth Annual Young Playwrights Festival. The competition allows students to develop their writing skills and rewards winners with their plays presented live on stage.
Nine finalists emerged out of 104 plays submitted. This year, the June Melgar Memorial Award for Young Playwrights granted cash prizes to writers of the top three plays. To participate in the program, students in groups of no more than three write and submit plays to Barter Theatre through their schools. This year more than 130 students participated from high schools in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
First place went to Unto These Hills by Jason Terrill, Hunter Perrin and Craig Rockett of Tennessee High School. Second place was awarded to The Jailor and the Saint by Matt Prater of Northwood High School. There was a tie for third place: A Swelling of the Ground by Matthew Rodriguez and Tolerance and Understanding: A Janitor's Tale by Kolton Powers, both of Abingdon High School.
Five honorable mentions were awarded. Recipients included J. Daniel Hayes and Collin Henderson of Abingdon High for Nobody's Murder, LeAnne Harvey and Kirsten Roberts of Abingdon High for The Masquerade, Rhyann Bennett of Tennessee High for The Play, Logan Hobbs and Griff Graves of Abingdon High for Two Jacks in the Hand and Patrick Havlik of Tennessee High for Bearly Sane.
The Barter Players and other Barter actors lightly staged and directed the first-, second- and third-place plays, while the five honorable-mention plays were performed Reader's Style. A morning performance of the award-winning plays was held for area students at Barter Theatre. The public performance and awards ceremony took place November 6 at Barter's Stage II. The Honorable Sage Johnson gave opening remarks and presented the awards, and a reception in honor of the students and their teachers immediately followed.
This annual event is part of Barter Theatre's Educational Outreach Program which also includes The Barter Players' season and tour as well as new and emerging e-learning opportunities for area youth. For more information, contact Tere Land at firstname.lastname@example.org or 276-619-3347.