Sister Cities Association of Sarasota

Citizen Diplomats—Carving a Path toward Peace since 1963

SSCA Florida Studio Theatre Young Playwrights Festival History

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Cities Referenced in This Article: 

Playwrights & Florida Studio Theater cast of the 2012 Winning Play "The Haggis Hunt"Playwrights & Florida Studio Theater cast of the 2012 Winning Play “The Haggis Hunt” by cousins Matthew Walton and Kelly Fairbairn of Sarasota Sister City Dunfermline, Scotland. (See SCAS FST Playwrights Report for Matthew, Kelly and teacher Elspeth McDonald of their Sarasota trip in May 2012.)

Florida Studio Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival was first begun in 1995. This program has touched more than a million children in the US and internationally, bringing the appreciation and love of writing to the classroom. Since 1995, the program has continued to expand and since 2004 has incorporated Sarasota’s Sister Cities into the competition.

In 2004, four 12-year-old Tel Mond, Israel students (Yael Bello, Hilla Golomb, Odie Senesh, and Nitzan Vertzberger) became first international winners of the Young Playwrights Festival competition and traveled to Sarasota to receive awards from Edward Albee. In 2005, eight students from Sarasota’s Sister City of Dunfermline, Scotland and one from Sister City Vladimir, Russia became the first festival winners from those cities.

As of May 2012, this outstanding youth program has resulted in three of our Sister Cities have 45 winning playwrights, accompanied by 26 teachers and numerous family members and chaperons selected to come to Sarasota. Here they gained recognition, saw their plays staged by professionals at FST, got to learn in depth about our cultural coast, made live long friends, got sand in their shoes—and became Ambassadors who delight in telling the world about the beauty, hospitality and delights of our Cultural Coast.

With the help of the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota, the WRITE A PLAY program received a grant to send FST’s Associate Director Kate Alexander and two teaching artists to Tel Mond, Israel to teach teachers how to teach students to write plays. The results are measurable, exciting and sustainable. That was followed by teach the teacher programs in Dunfermline, Scotland and Vladimir, Federation of Russia. Each year since the international program began, FST has received more and more plays from children from these sister cities and other countries where the program awareness has grown. Each year winning authors, their teachers and parents or chaperons make their way to Sarasota to see their students’ winning plays performed the stage of the Keating Theater.

A Continuum of Winners

2012

  • From Dunfermline, Scotland:
    • “The Haggis Hunt” by cousins Matthew Walton (9th grade) and Kelly Fairbairn (10th grade), St. Columba’s High School, Elspeth McDonald teacher
  • From Tel Mond, Israel:
    • “Lost in Jerusalem” by Shai Levi (7th grade); Shelanu School, Tami Philosoph teacher;
  • From Vladimir, Federation of Russia:
    • “Remember Me” by Tanya Dorozhkova and Nataliya Serdukova (both 9th Grade, Karinalonova Humanitarian Linguistic Gymnasium #23

2011

  • From Dunfermline, Scotland:
    • “Corruption” by Joe Hunt (7th Grade) of St. Margaret’s Primary, Gillian O’Neill teacher;
  • From Tel Mond, Israel:
    • “Don’t Judge Me” by Omri Carmel and Ido Daniel (both 7th Grade), Shelanu School, Tami Philosoph, teacher
  • From Vladimir, Federation of Russia:
    • “Moon Child” by Anna Ryzhova (ih Grade), Humanitarian Linguistic Gymnasium #23, Alevtina Bukova, teacher

2010

  • From Dunfermline, Scotland:
    • “The Lonely Loch Ness Monster by Rachael Graham and Rebecca Gorman(both i h Grade), St. Margaret’s Primary, Gillian O’Neill teacher;
  • From Tel Mond, Israel:
    • “Yanush Korchak” by Amit Faraj (7th Grade),Shelanu School, Tami Philosoph teacher;
  • From Vladimir, Russia:
    • “White Piano” by Sofia Salvateeva, (7th Grade), Humanitarian Linguistic Gymnasium #23, Julia Alexandrovna teacher.

2009

  • From Dunfermline, Scotland:
    • Cousins Callum Fairbairn, who was a winner last year and Craig Walton had winning plays in the 2009 competition.
  • From Vladimir, Russia:
    • Two Young Playwright winners Alina and Ivan came to Sarasota to be honored along with their teacher Yulia

2008

  • From Dunfermline, Scotland:
    • “Same Difference” by Eryn MacGregor (7th Grade), Queen Anne High School Gillian. McNeil teacher;
    • “It’s A Kind Of Magic” by Callum Fairbairn (7th Grade), St. Columba’s High School Miriam Foy teacher;
  • From Tel Mond, Israel:
    • “Red Color” by Tohar Strul (7th Grade), Rabin Middle School, Tami Philosoph teacher;
  • From Vladimir, Russia:
    • “Friends” by Polina Timofeeva 10th Grade), Humanitarian Linguistic Gymnasium #10 Smirnova, Oskana Evgenievna teacher.

2007

  • From Dunfermline, Scotland:
    • ‘The Great Escape” by Carmel Lawson (11th Grade); Dunfermline High School. Mrs. Dangliesh teacher;
    • “My Little Estrella!” by Mark Wilson (11th Grade), St. Columba’s High School, Miriam Fay teacher;
    • “One Thought That Will Never Change” by Mark Bower and Brenden Smith (both ]’h Grade), St. Margaret’s Primary School, Gillian O’Neill teacher;
  • From Tel Mond, Israel:
    • “Alien Kiss” by Mayan Hayun and Maayan Carmel (both ]’h Grade), Shenlanu School, Tami Philosoph teacher;
    • “Friendship by Letters” by Eden Gabay and Gal Drori (bith 7th Grade), Shenlanu School, Tami Philosoph teacher;
  • From Vladimir, Russia:
    • “Bob the Violinist” by Igor Milenkiy (7’h Grade), Linguistic Gymnasia #23. Nina Leovovna Ivchenko teacher.

2006

  • From Dunfermline, Scotland:
    • “Blame the Driver” by Ryan Bower, St. Columba’s High School, Miriam Foy teacher;
  • From Tel Mond, Israel:
    • “The Unknown Man” by Nitzan Barak, Rabin High School

2005

  • From Dunfermline, Scotland:
    • “Personality Takes No Shape” by Melissa Baillie, Lorna Cormack, Nichole Horn and Allison McConway, Queen Anne High School. Joanna Cairns teacher;
    • “Sticks and Stones” Victoria Cummings, Rachel Ewing and Sarah Morden, Queen Anne High School, Joanna Cairns teacher;
    • “My Dream, Your Dream” by Kasia Grycuk. St. Columba school
  • From Vladimir, Russia:
  • “Tommy and the Little Evil” by Igor Milenkly

2004

  • From Tel Mond, Israel
    • Four 12-year-old students (Yael Bello, Hilla Golomb, Odie Senesh, and Nitzan Vertzberger) became first international winners of the Young Playwrights Festival competition and traveled to Sarasota to receive awards from Edward Albee.