CTM promo young playwright


Join us for the launch on May 12 at 1pm – All events are virtual, free and open to the public!  

Children’s Theater of Madison’s Young Playwrights (YP) is an annual program that celebrates giving voice to young writers through the art and craft of playwriting.The YP program’s mission is to develop relationships between Dane County youth, professional theater artists, and educators. It begins with residencies at area-high schools and ends with staged readings at the Young Playwrights Festival in May. This year 4 schools participated, involving 70 students.

During the residencies, each student created a ten-minute play unique to their own creative ideas. The student-written plays were then reviewed by theater professionals, teachers and peers. From these residencies, one to two plays were selected from each school for our staged readings at the Young Playwrights Festival, where they are directed and acted by professional theater artists and experienced actors. In addition to the high school residency, CTM also hosts the middle-school program Young Playwrights for Change. Developed in 2015 by the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) & Theatre for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA), this national program engages students from across the country in a theme-based writing competition. Area middle school students worked with CTM teaching artists to learn basic playwriting techniques, wrote a 10-minute play based on a theme, and received feedback on their scripts. One script will be read at this festival and will go on to represent CTM at the national-level competition.


This year, we are expanding the festival by adding two additional events: a Professional Play Reading and a Songwriting for Musical Theater Workshop. The festival will be available for streaming through Sunday, May 30. The Young Playwrights Festival is for grades 6 and up!

Young Playwrights Reading

2021 Young Playwrights Festival Schedule:
Wednesday, May 12, 1:00pm - Festival Welcome and Introductions

Wednesday, May 12, 1-3PM - Young Playwrights Residency Staged Readings - TO SEE YP LIVE REGISTER HERE!
Staged readings of student-written one-acts with live Q&A following each of the 10-minute plays with the playwright and Festival producer-director Erica Berman. 

Friday, May 14 Starting at 6:00pm - The residency readings will be available to the general public for streaming through Sunday, May 30, right here.


Saturday May 15, 6:30pm-7:30pm
Register here for this Special Event with Playwright Gloria Bond Clunie
The event will feature a talk with this award-winning playwright about her career as a playwright and the art & craft of playwriting. There will also be a world-premiere reading of “Night of the Fire Rain”, a new short play by Ms. Clunie, commissioned by The Kennedy Center. Viewers will be able to ask questions through a live chat. 

On the night of the Fire Rain, Angel, Estrella and Skylar watch the skies. Like their ancestors, they prepare for a right of passage that will change them forever. Their challenge – to grab fire and hold on to it.

Gloria Bond Clunie is an award-winning playwright, educator and director. She is a founding member of the Playwriting Ensemble at Chicago’s Regional Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater where her plays NORTH STAR, LIVING GREEN and SHOES premiered and the founding Artistic Director of Evanston’s Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Other works by this Northwestern University graduate (B.A. Theater, MFA-Directing) include Smoke, Blu, Quark, Bankruptcy, Mercy Rising, #Lovestories Inspired By Black Lives Matter. My Wonderful Birthday Suit and Last Stop On Market Street. Theaters presenting her work include Victory Gardens, The Goodman, Triad Stage, Chicago Children’s Theater, Children’s Theater of Charlotte and Orlando Shakespeare.

Register here for this Special Event with Playwright Gloria Bond Clunie

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Sunday May 16, 1pm-3pm
Register Now for “Musical Theater Songwriting”
A participatory workshop for grades 6-12 led by Mark Wurzelbacher where participants will learn the basics of songwriting and how a song can shape a scene. No matter what your level of musical expertise is, you will be able to call yourself a songwriter after this workshop!

How do you write a musical? Where do you even start? In this workshop, led by composer and music director Mark Wurzelbacher, you will get some hands-on experience in writing musical scenes––also known as songs!––and understanding some of the ways that musical writers think about crafting their work. No matter what your level of musical expertise is, you will be able to call yourself a songwriter after this workshop!

Mark Wurzelbacher’s CTM mainstage music directing credits include Beat Bugs, Peter Pan, Matilda, Willy Wonka, How I Became A Pirate, Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly, Madagascar, Seussical, along with countless summer camps. Mark has worked with numerous Madison-area organizations as a music director, accompanist, teacher, arranger, and composer, including Music Theatre of Madison (Artistic Associate), Forward Theater (Fun Home), Theatre Lila (Romeo & Juliet), Whoopensocker, UW-Madison University Theater, Madison Savoyards, and Fresco Opera. He maintains a private piano teaching studio. markwurzelbacher.com

Exciting and important work is being done by theaters like CTM across the country. We'd like to share some of the many offerings out there that reflect new works presented by these outstanding theaters for young audiences. We hope you will check them out and find them enjoyable and inspiring.
Diamond's Dream - recommended for ages 9 and up; created for Chicago Children's Theater as part of their Springboard Project -- an initiative to create new virtual work that could be expanded into in-person plays. This piece was designed and directed by Jerrell L. Henderson and Caitlin McLeod.
10 Seconds - recommended for ages 12 and up; a play based on the ideas, conversations, and discoveries from two years of workshops between police and youth. This piece was written by Miriam Gonzales, directed by LeeAnét Noble. Assistant Playwright: Tyrese Rowe
Amplify - New works series by BIPOC playwrights, commissioned and presented by First Stage in Milwaukee. The play Copper Horns in Water by Ty DeFoe is recommended for ages 8 and up, and is streaming now through May 16. Based in an Anishinaabe storytelling tradition, the play is performed by students from Indian Community School.
Stronger Together - recommended for ages 5 and up; Produced by Honolulu Theater for Youth as part of their HI-Way Series using puppets, the play is the company's collective, creative response to the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes happening across the country. HTY's resident team behind The Hi Way's Stronger Together episode are committed to serving the community especially during this time when inspiring youth and beginning this conversation with love and hope, rather than fear, is imperative.