From: Young Playwrights' Theater []
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 11:19 AM
To: Liza Harbison
Subject: YPT Wire January 2011 - Happy New Year from YPT!

The Newsletter of Young Playwrights' Theater

In This Issue
Celebrate Local History through New Writers Now! - From Civil War to Civil Rights
Meet the Winner of YPT's "Friend-raising" Challenge!
YPT and SMYAL Tackle Bullying during No Name-Calling Week
Joneya Simpson: Promising Playwright
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Issue: # 51
January 2011
Celebrate Local History through
New Writers Now!
- From Civil War to Civil Rights
Join Young Playwrights' Theater for an exciting evening celebrating local history! How can drama help us understand the personal experiences behind the history? What can our past teach us about our future?

Come explore history through original student plays I am a Slave by Jack Brotman of the Maret School and Mercy, Mercy Me by Ellen Hubbard of Bell Multicultural High School.
The evening will also mark the premiere of Woodlawn, a stirring new play created collaboratively with residents and organizations throughout Ward 7 in Washington, DC. The play examines the history and heritage of Woodlawn Cemetery, the final resting place of 36,000 extraordinary Americans, many lost to history, until now. Woodlawn explores the value of knowing our history and how learning our history can help us to learn about ourselves, where we've been and where we may be going.


Sam Ford, ABC7/WJLA-TV
As a special treat for the DC community, YPT is excited to announce that
Sam Fordreporter for ABC7/WJLA-TV, will be the Welcoming Speaker for this event!

We can't wait to see you there!


New Writers Now! - From Civil War to Civil Rights
February 7, 2011
6:30pm Reception, 7pm Performance

GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW  


Woodlawn Screen Cap



Click here to view a preview and read more about Woodlawn.

Meet the Winner of YPT's "Friend-raising" Challenge!
Michelle TJ This holiday season, we asked you to donate to YPT to help us raise $50,000 to meet the ever-increasing demand for our programs in 2011. More than three hundred community members have already responded to our request and given generously to support our students and programs this spring. One of these community members, Michelle Tang Jackson, not only gave to YPT, but decided to participate in YPT's first-ever Friend-raising Challenge ...and she won! We sat down with Michelle this week to talk about her experience participating in the Challenge and how she feels about her big victory.

When YPT Teaching Artist Michelle Tang Jackson learned of the Friend-raising Challenge, she jumped at the opportunity. "I see the effect that YPT has on students firsthand in the classroom and the thought of YPT programming getting cut breaks my heart!" Michelle says.

Though she had never participated in a fundraising campaign of any kind before, she was excited to share her love of YPT with her friends, family, and community.
"Usually it's hard to ask people for money, especially in this economy. But I told people what I had seen in the classroom and why I thought YPT's programming was so important and I was really surprised at people's willingness to donate!"

To thank her for her efforts, students in our Young Playwrights' Workshop will be writing an original dramatic piece inspired by Michelle's life. Michelle hopes to share the following details about her personal history when she works with YPT students to develop the new dramatic piece this spring: how she ended up in Washington, DC, how being an "odd kid" helped her to become a teaching artist today, why she loves her home state of California, and what she wanted to be when she grew up (a clown, veterinarian, movie star, or poet).To read Michelle's entire interview, click here.

To all who gave to YPT this year, Michelle says,"Y'all are amazing - thank you for helping keep YPT alive and students writing!"

Deepest thanks to all who participated in YPT's Friend-raising challenge and to the hundreds of donors who have given to YPT so far this year
YPT and SMYAL Tackle Bullying during
No Name-Calling Week

wkshp2 In 2010, YPT established an exciting new partnership with the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL), the only Washington, DC metro area service organization solely dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

Through this
growing partnership, YPT Program Manager Nicole Jost acts as a guest Teaching Artist in SMYAL's Youth Arts Program, helping participants unlock their own stories while deepening YPT's connection with local LGBTQ youth and Eastern Market. As students in YPT's

In-School Playwriting Program write increasingly about issues important to the LGBTQ youth community, including anti-bullying, acceptance and understanding, friendship and family, we are excited to have the opportunity to bring more of these stories to life through our new partnership with SMYAL.
On Saturday, January 22, as part of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)'s No Name-Calling Week, SMYAL is hosting a day of performing arts workshops at the Academy for Educational Development's Greely Hall (1825 Connecticut Ave. NW), open to all young people ages 13-21.  Young Playwrights' Theater will be leading a workshop to help young people express their thoughts and experiences through playwriting. In this setting, young people will experiment with new ways to talk about anti-bullying as they prepare to perform their work on Tuesday, February 8th, from 5-7pm, at the GALA Hispanic Theatre. All are invited to attend this free performance.No Name Calling2
Read more about YPT's growing partnership
with SMYAL and Nicole Jost's experience here.

Joneya Simpson
JoneyaPromising Playwright
"Just believe in yourself. You know you can do it," Joneya Simpson says. This is her advice for other young playwrights who may feel nervous about writing their first play. Joneya experienced playwriting for the very first time when Young Playwrights' Theater brought the In-School Playwriting Program into her 6th grade classroom at the Evans Middle School campus of the Maya Angelou Public Charter School.

"I was inspired to write my play by my best friend Dasia," Joneya says. "She wants to work at the Rainbow City Mall when she grows up." In the play, Joneya's protagonist disagrees with her mother over whether a job at the mall is a good idea. "Her mother doesn't want her to leave school. She wants her to be a success in life," Joneya explains. Her play ultimately has a happy ending, with the main character deciding to stay in school but work at the mall over the summer. The mother character says, "You are old enough to make your own decisions."

When Joneya is old enough to make her own decisions, she hopes to become a veterinarian. "I love animals," she says. "I have two baby turtles and a cat named Sasha." Joneya is the oldest of her mother's children. "It's a whole lotta work being the oldest," she reports. When she's not looking after her younger siblings, she likes to read books and write book reports, go shopping, and play double dutch.

"The most important thing to know about me," Joneya says, "is that I'm nice."

For more Promising Playwrights, click here.
Young Playwrights' Theater
2437 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009 
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