The Twin Beach Players are currently showing the Twelfth Annual Kids’ Playwriting Festival, a magnificent display of youth talent in the theater. There were a total of six works presented this year, all written by youth, which were brought to life through the production work and support of Twin Beach Players, as well as dozens of young actors portraying vibrant and relatable characters. In their opening weekend, The Kids’ Playwriting Festival performed for large crowds, and this upcoming weekend will bring in even more to see unique narratives come to life in North Beach.
The Kids’ Playwriting Festival is an established and well-anticipated tradition of the Twin Beach Players. Presented by the Summer Youth Troupe Production, the event brings together members of the TBP production team with youth and their families from the surrounding area to provide training to young actors and technical assistants and give them a safe space to practice their craft. The festival accepts short play submissions from youth from across the state of Maryland. The plays are read by the year’s designated judges, typically established playwrights who are invested in youth development in theater. Each year the Festival receives up to dozens of submissions from students and narrows it down to six works that Twin Beach Players agree to produce.
This year’s works brilliantly reflect the themes that youth live today while making connections to universal truths and thoughts that theatrical works typically display. The youngest winner of this year’s competition was Paige Plater, who shared themes in her narrative with another playwright, Aaron McDaniel. Their works, respectively titled Every Bully has a Story and It’s Life deal with the complications of bullying in school, its effects on social, physical, and mental health, while also offering the audience their interpretation of realistic solutions— usually just extending a hand and becoming a friend to the bully and seeing them as another human being with issues and the capability to be loved as a friend.
Another standout from this year’s Kids Playwriting Festival include a work by Cameron Walker, a young actor (and now playwright) who has held many leading roles in the Twin Beach Players’ productions in the last few seasons. The high schooler captured the ancient universalism of the struggle between head & heart in his hilarious portrayal using relatable situations in Heart and Mind. The mature cast invites the audience not just into the setting, but into the inner reasoning of young people exploring new situations and the fear and excitement that comes with the novelty.
The Twelfth Annual Kids’ Playwriting Festival runs August 11 & 12 at 7pm, and August 13 at 3 pm at 9021 Dayton Avenue in North Beach, Md. Tickets are $7. Visit twinbeachplayers.org for more information.
Alexya Brown / Calvert Beacon Intern