Florida Studio Theatre’s WRITE A PLAY program celebrates its 25th year of introducing and inspiring young playwrights to explore the magic of live theatre

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(Sarasota, FL)— Florida Studio Theatre’s WRITE A PLAY program celebrates its 25th year of introducing and inspiring young playwrights to explore the magic of live theatre. This special anniversary season will kick off in the Keating Theatre with Rumplestiltskin adapted by Beth Duda and Adam Ratner. Directed by Associate Artist, Jason Cannon, performances begin in the Keating Theatre on Monday, October 1 and will play through November 13 to students from Sarasota and Manatee County schools. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased through FST’s WRITE A PLAY Coordinator, Patrick A. Jackson, at 941.366.9797.

FST Director of Children’s Theatre, Caroline Kaiser, shares her excitement for this milestone season stating, “We are so excited to be kicking-off the 25th Anniversary of WRITE A PLAY with our production of Rumplestiltskin. This richly unique program exposes children to what is often their first theatrical experience, and inspires them to access their creativity and write plays of their own. Rumplestiltskin is especially poignant because it is full of heart, focusing on themes of love and the importance of family.”

Rumplestiltskin is the play that sets the example. This classic fable of love, deceit, and vanity is given a modern twist. A father, eager for his daughter Millie to win the King’s heart, claims that she can spin straw into gold. When Millie and her sister Tillie are forced to complete the task or face dire circumstances, they take an offer made by a mysterious man. Will they all live happily ever after, or will the consequences of their decision threaten their happiness forever?

Directing this richly imaginative and visually captivating play is FST Associate Artist Jason Cannon. Cannon speaks to FST’s approach to this production stating, “This adaptation focuses on the deep need of every character to be accepted and loved. Even the “villain” is driven by this need, and the most lovely twist on the original story is that here it ends with redemption for all rather than destruction of any. Visually we are excited to be utilizing puppetry for the title character!”

After students have seen a performance of Rumpelstiltskin, the next phase of the WRITE A PLAY program begins. FST teaching artists travel directly to the students’ classrooms in the Playmaker’s Tour: WRITE IT UP, WRITE IT DOWN. Teaching students by using improvisation and participatory learning tools to inspire writing, the playmakers teach up to eight in-class playwriting workshops. The tour begins on October 6.

Having been at FST for almost three years now, I’m still just stunned by the power of the WRITE A PLAY program,“ said Cannon. “Children write plays that adults are incapable of writing, and tell stories that adults have forgotten how to write. By teaching young people not only what plays are, but then empowering them to write their own plays, we then have the great honor of staging those plays. And watching a parent see their child’s play professionally produced… not only is the child transformed, but the parent’s understanding of their child is exploded in the most exciting way.”

Every year at FST, the fall children’s show begins the season with a healthy dose of imagination and inspiration. For many of these children, this is the first theatrical production they have ever seen. Others are about to see a show that will inspire them to write their own plays for submission in FST’s annual Young Playwright’s Festival in the spring.

FST staff is just as excited as the students to begin this special Anniversary season. WRITE A PLAY Coordinator Patrick A. Jackson shares his anticipation stating, “I am excited to begin the 25th season of the WRITE A PLAY Program. Having been an actor in previous productions in the program gives me an even greater appreciation and understanding of the impact that WRITE A PLAY has on youth. It’s always a joy to stand outside as the busses pull up to the Keating and see the students literally jumping with joy in their seats to be here at FST. We’re a safe place for them, whether they are sitting at FST experiencing live theatre or when our teaching artists are in the schools sparking creativity. The students know that with WRITE A PLAY and Florida Studio Theatre their imaginations are endless.”

Celebrating the 25th anniversary season of FST’s WRITE A PLAY program, Rumplestiltskin begins October 1 in the Keating Theatre. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased through FST’s WRITE A PLAY Coordinator, Patrick A. Jackson, at 941.366.9797.


Since 1991, WRITE A PLAY, an arts-in-education initiative, has introduced thousands of students to professional theatre and provided them with the skills and motivation to create original plays. High energy, interactive performances, workshops and long-term residencies inspire children’s creativity, bolster their communication and literary skills, and instill in them an appreciation of the arts. Students are encouraged to write from their own point of view and in doing so, they create diverse plays such as Stick to Being Me, an inspiring tale about dealing with peer pressure and finding the courage to be your true self.

Now in its 25th year, the WRITE A PLAY program reaches over 50,000 students each year in Florida, Scotland, Russia and Israel. Since the inception of WRITE A PLAY, this unique program has impacted more than one million children. Teaching children to write, FST’s WRITE A PLAY program has not only inspired young creative minds, it has also increased reading and writing scores in the program’s participants.


The core of the WRITE A PLAY program is its three-play series: Rumplestiltskin sets the example of a well-made play; the PLAYMAKERS Tour: WRITE IT UP, WRITE IT DOWN travels across the state of Florida during the winter months teaching children to write plays; and UNDER SIX: the compilation of winning plays submitted to FST’s Young Playwrights Festival.

The WRITE A PLAY year culminates with a celebration of all the young playwrights’ hard work and creativity with the Young Playwrights Festival in May. Last year, winning playwrights, honorable mention winners ages 6-18, and their guests, including educators, traveled from around Florida and as far away as Dunfermline, Scotland to view a special presentation of their original plays and receive their awards. Some came from big sprawling campuses with hundreds of students and others came from small one-room schools. Many came from big cities and some from small towns.

About Florida Studio Theatre

Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company then acquired the former Woman’s Club building, becoming the first permanent venue. Shortly after Richard Hopkins arrived, the building was purchased and renamed The Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Gompertz Theatre, the Parisian style Goldstein Cabaret, the John C. Court Cabaret, and Bowne’s Lab Theatre.

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.


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