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New Voices for the Theater

ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS OF THE 2024 NEW VOICES FOR THE THEATER COMPETITION

Bumble Bea by Alexis Washington

Orthopocalypse by Sofia Taylor

Bank Robbery by Nabeeha Mohammed

Prince’s Folly by Hunter Olsen

The Break by Molly Christianson

Pilgrimage to the Yellow Kingdom by A. Rene Gutierrez

At the End of Time by Allison Calhoon

Please Just Stay by Ava Conway

Congratulations to the New Voices for the Theater 2024 Finalists.

He Who Dreams In Fragments
Kara Brooke Ratliff
Honaker HS 10th grade

At the End of Time
Allison Calhoon
York County School of the Arts Bruton HS 11th grade

What does Liv Think
Melanie Castro-Martinez
Eastern View HS 12th grade

The Break
Molly Christianson
Powhatan HS 11th grade

Bumble-Bea
Alexis J Washington
Appomattox Regional Governor’s School 12th grade

Case 1515
Jordin A Amoah
Gainesville HS 11th grade

Bank Robbery Gone Wrong
Nabeeha Mohammed (New Voices Winner 2022)
Grafton HS 12th grade

Pilgrimage to the Yellow Kingdom
Antonio R Gutierrez
Saint John Paul the Great Catholic HS 12th grade

Please Just Stay
Ava Noel Conway
Eastern View HS 12th grade

It’s left!
Joslyn Veronica Gallegos
York County School of the Arts Bruton HS 9th grade

Nine Lives
Matthias Williams
Appomattox Regional Governor’s School 12th grade

Prince’s Folly
Hunter James Olsen
Salem HS 12th grade

Why Nobody Likes Theatre
Riyah Keitlynne Hammarsten
York County School of the Arts Bruton HS 11th grade

Orthopocalypse
Sofia Taylor
Manchester HS 12th grade

Harborstone
Scarlett Miller
York County School of the Arts Bruton HS 12th grade

ABOUT

New Voices for the Theater is a statewide playwriting competition that provides an opportunity for students, selected out of hundreds of applicants from across the Commonwealth, to bring their original one-act plays to life on the stage for the public each summer at the Festival of New Works.

Watch the video to learn more about New Voices for the Theater!

2023 Festival of New Works One-Act Plays

How It Works

New Voices for the Theater is a statewide playwriting competition that provides an opportunity for Virginia 8th-12th grade students to further develop their submitted one-act plays in collaboration with theater professionals and their peers.

All playwrights who submit to the program, regardless of their selection status, will receive meaningful feedback from SPARC to support the further development of their plays.

In the spring of 2024 SPARC will still select eight playwrights to participate in the first week of the program (July 15 to 19). This week features virtual playwriting workshops led by a professional playwright as facilitator and mentor. In the virtual workshops students will revise their winning plays, develop new works, and learn about the craft of playwriting.

Upon successful completion of the virtual week-long program, eight playwrights will receive $250 in prize money for their participation.

In week two of the program SPARC brings four playwrights together for a live, shared experience in Richmond, VA hosted by SPARC from July 22 to 27. Here, the chosen playwrights will work side by side in rehearsal with professional theatre directors and actors in preparation for live, in-person staged readings of their winning plays at SPARC’S Sara Belle November Educational Theater.

SPARC will cover the cost of lodging and meals for those playwrights who are selected to participate in this second, in-person week of the program.

Opportunities

New Voices for the Theater is seeking actors of all ages for the 34th annual Festival of New Works. Actors are needed to fill the roles in four productions that will rehearse in person at SPARC Monday, July 22 to Thursday, July 25, from 6-8pm. Tech rehearsal for all four plays will take place on Friday, July 26, 2024.
 

Character descriptions are available below. Complete an application and submit a one-minute contemporary monologue by June 17th to be considered. All actors will be notified about casting by July 1st. If cast, there is an honorarium that will be paid out at the end of the festival.

Please email your video audition with your name in the subject line to Heather Falks at hfalks@sparcrichmond.org.

Bumble-Bea

After being diagnosed with transcortical-motor aphasia, Ezekiel’s mother invites his childhood friend, Bea, to their house to cheer him up. At his mother’s wishes, Bea tries to get Ezekiel to do one of his vocal therapy exercises. However, he only wants to joke around and have fun with his best friend. Bea’s determination to get things back to normal leads her to ignore the true extent of Ezekiel’s disability and attempt to rush his recovery. It is only when Ezekiel breaks down that Bea finally stops to listen, and he feels safe to earnestly try.

  • EZEKIEL (teens) a boy with transcortical-motor aphasia, affecting his speech and writing capabilities. He is very intelligent but enjoys being dumb with his friends because it’s just for laughs. When his aphasia makes him actually feel stupid, he just wants to forget it or give up.
  • BEA (teens)  she is the bubbly type who always wants to help her friends but often talks quite fast, making her a bad listener and a bit stubborn.
  • EZEKIEL’S MOTHER (40 +) a loving woman who is still in shock about Ezekiel’s aphasia and is very desperate to see her son happy again.

Please Just Stay

After experiencing a devastating loss, Allison and her daughter Eve move into a new home. They quickly realize that the house is haunted by a ghost that doesn’t remember his past, and they decide to help him find his family, learn how he died, and find out why his soul is trapped on Earth.

  • ALLISON WINDSOR (30’s-50’s)  the single mom of Eve; torn up by the loss of her mother, but pulls back from expressing it to Eve
  • EVE WINDSOR (teens) she lost her grandmother recently before moving homes; a little afraid of the death of those she cares about and hates that there’s nothing she can do to stop it.
  • LIEF BENNICK (teens) he is a ghost. Lonely in the house alone and misses his family that moved out when he died. Had a bad relationship with his older sister, but doesn’t remember it that way.
  • BRIDGET BENNICK (twenties) Lief’s older sister
  • BEATRICE BENNICK (40’s-50’s ) Lief’s mother
  • LIAM BENNICK (40’s-50’s ) Lief’s father

At the End of Time

Kitty and Jon are two god-like beings at the end of time, waiting for the universe to end. All of a sudden, a high school girl named Aubrey is sent forward and forces Kitty and Jon to grapple with their coming deaths. In the end, Aubrey is sent home and Kitty and Jon come to term with their feelings.

  • KITTY (any age) Basically a god. Views herself as above humanity and can appear very frivolous.
  • JON (any age) Basically a god. Very knowledgeable and closer to humanity than Kitty, but still clueless  about many emotions.
  • AUBREY (teens) Teenager from the 21st century. More grounded, but can be hotheaded at times. Upset at  her parents for moving away from her friends.

Prince’s Folly

In a Basque Kingdom in the 1500’s, citizens ravaged by war, a prince and his jester find themselves in a forbidden romance behind closed doors. One night, Elio, the prince, calls Luphas, his lover, to his quarters earlier than usual with a startling request. He is suggesting they tell the entire kingdom of their affair, seemingly out of nowhere. What caused Elio’s urgency, and what will that mean for their relationship?

 

  • ELIO (late teens – early twenties) Prince, heir to the throne. Bold, Impulsive, Charismatic
  • LUPHAS (late teens – early twenties) Court Jester, Calculated, Obedient, Cautious

Helpful Information

What is the deadline to submit a one act play?

February 14, 2024

How many plays can I submit?

If you have more than one story to tell, you can submit as many plays as you like! All scripts must be original. Please do not submit adaptations of other authors’ work, film screenplays, or musicals.

Will I receive feedback on my play?

Yes. Each play submission is evaluated by a script committee member, and their written feedback will be shared with the playwright. Please note that scores will not be divulged to the student playwrights.

When do I find out if I am a finalist?

Finalists are announced in April 2024. Winners are contacted in May 2024 with an offer to attend the 1st week of virtual workshops. At this time the winners will be informed if their play has been selected for in-person 2nd week of program.

How are the finalists and winners selected?

Each one act play submission is read by members of the New Voices for the Theater Script Committee. Members have expertise in both theatre and creative writing. The scripts are evaluated on a number scale and the highest scoring plays are passed along to the Playwright-in-Residence to select the eight winners.

Can you tell me more about the prize money?

There is a $250 prize that is awarded to all eight winning playwrights on completion of the one-week virtual residency. Winners will be awarded $250 prize money.

If my play is selected, will there be a fee to participate?

No fees! SPARC is pleased to offer this virtual residency free to all participants. In fact, winners are awarded prize money for their play.

What does it look like if I am selected for the virtual one-week workshops?

The first week is concentrated on developing and editing the winning plays with the Playwright-in-Residence’s guidance and mentorship. All workshops will take place virtually.

What does it look like if I am selected for the virtual one-week workshops and the in-person week of rehearsals?

The second week, four student playwrights will relocate to Richmond to participate in the staging of their plays. They will be in the rehearsal room with professional directors, student actors, and student stage managers in preparation for the Festival of New Works.
SPARC will cover the cost of lodging and meals for those playwrights who are selected to participate in this second, in-person week of the program

How are the plays that will be produced at the Festival of New Works selected?

In the spring of 2024 SPARC will select four of the winning playwrights to work side by side in rehearsal with professional theatre directors and actors in preparation for live, in-person staged readings of their winning plays at SPARC’S Sara Belle November Educational Theater.
The selected plays will be minimal in nature with small cast sizes, limited scene locations, simplistic technical needs, etc.

What is the Festival of New Works?

A culmination of the playwrights’ hard work in collaboration with the directors, actors, stage managers, and actors. The 34th Festival of New Works will take place on July 27, 2024 at Sara Belle November Educational Theater. After each play there will be a talk back with the playwright for audience members to learn more about the playwriting process and the New Voices program.

Major funding for New Voices for the Theater is provided by:

E. RHODES AND LEONA B. CARPENTER FOUNDATION 

Additional Support Provided By:

Altria, Community Foundation for a greater Richmond, Dominion Energy Foundation,
the R.E.B. Foundation, Robins Foundation, and Holly Rice & Vince Gilligan

All SPARC programs are made possible in part by: 

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Questions?

Email us at sparc@sparcrichmond.org or call 804.353.3393.