FST is proud to announce the winning plays of this year’s Young Playwright’s Festival. For 25 years, FST has honored thousands of young playwrights from all around the world through the WRITE A PLAY(WAP) program

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2016 Young Playwrights Festival winners announced

25 years of FST’s Write A Play program

(Sarasota, FL) – FST is proud to announce the winning plays of this year’s Young Playwright’s Festival. For 25 years, FST has honored thousands of young playwrights from all around the world through the WRITE A PLAY(WAP) program. Over the course of the 2015-2016 season, FST received plays written by over 3,600 young playwrights, aged 5-18. This year’s winning plays will be presented in Imagination Adventures which is now playing through May 27 in FST’s Keating Theatre. Tickets are $6. Please contact WRITE-A-PLAY Coordinator Patrick A. Jackson at (941) 366-9797 for tickets, show times, or other questions.

In conjunction with the Sarasota Festival of New Plays, the Young Playwrights Festival includes a 6-week run of Imagination Adventures, a WORLD PREMIERE production of an anthology of exemplary plays written by children in grades K-6. Directed by Jason Cannon, and performed by a cast of FST acting apprentices, these authentic stories from the minds of children contain laughter, lessons, and learning for us all.

The WAP program begins each season with the Fall Children’s show as the example. Kicking things off this year was the production of Rumplestiltskin by Beth Duda and Adam Ratner. The process then continues with the Playmaker’s Tour. FST’s Acting Apprentices go into Sarasota and Manatee County schools to teach students the basics of playwriting development. The students then put what they’ve learned into practice as they submit their final scripts. After an extensive selection process, the winning plays are produced by FST’s professional staff for Imagination Adventures as well plays from winning playwrights in grades 7-12.

Writing from a place of unfiltered creativity, these young playwrights create work that is both unique and memorable. With titles like The Dragon vs. the Hiccups, The Encouraged Cow, and The Lonely Flame, even the FST artists and staff can’t help but be inspired.

The Young Playwrights Festival is a truly magical time of year here at Florida Studio Theatre,” said Adam Ratner, Young Playwrights Festival Coordinator and Lead Teaching Artist. “This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the program which has touched the lives of over 1 million students since its creation. We received plays from over 3,600 playwrights both locally and internationally. As the plays arrive by mail there is a sense of energy that permeates the envelopes in which they arrive. They seem to be calling out, ‘Look at all the imagination, effort, and fun that went into the process of creating these tales.’ This year 110 playwrights were honored in various categories. One playwright, Zander Morciz who wrote The Adventures of Cheddar the Goldfish was also an honored playwright in 2013 for his play Rebecca’s Secret Surprise. Morciz, said being selected as an UNDER SIX Winner “has inspired him to pursue the performing arts and try performing on stage!”

Ratner adds, “Zander has every right to be excited. His play will be seen by over 10,000 Sarasota and Manatee County students. On May 21 Zander and his fellow honored playwrights will attend our Young Playwrights Festival Day with their families and educators. This is a day to celebrate their courage to create; the act of putting their thoughts and feelings out there for all to see is certainly an act of bravery. At last year’s festival a parent of an honored playwright approached me and said, ‘We had no idea our son had even written a play. And now I feel like he’s become a celebrity!’ And the WAP program strives to do exactly that – to showcase the talents these young artists and writers possess and for a moment glance at the world through their eyes of creative wonderment.”

This program has impacted not only the students, but many of the teachers that include WAP as part of their curriculum. Freda Williams, a 4th Grade Teacher at Pine View School has worked with the WRITE A PLAY program almost through the entirety of the program. Her students have written past winning plays, Chomp (2014) and A Spotty Situation (2015). This year Williams also brought FST teaching artists into her classroom for a CONNECT Language Arts+Social Studies=Playwriting Workshop to create plays incorporating social studies and history curriculum.

I know the WAP Program impacts students in writing, reading and comprehension,” said Williams. “I have had the honor of working with the program for about 15 years now and my students soar to success academically and creatively due to the passion of the teaching artists from FST. The WAP Program is a vital program for integration of the arts for my students which benefits them in all areas of language arts.”

Throughout the run of Imagination Adventures, students from Sarasota and Manatee Counties are bussed to FST to see the work of their peers. All bussing is donated by Embracing Our Differences’ Make-A-Day-Of-It program. Following the performance, students then travel to the Sarasota Bayfront to visit the Embracing Our Differences Art exhibit.

This year’s winning plays will be presented in Imagination Adventures which is now playing through May 27 in FST’s Keating Theatre. Tickets are $6. Please contact WAP Coordinator Patrick A. Jackson at (941) 366-9797 for tickets, show times, or other questions.



The Sarasota Festival of New Plays seeks to provide a forum for playwrights of all ages to develop plays that can be fruitfully produced. From our young playwrights to emerging adult playwrights and seasoned playwriting veterans, the Sarasota Festival of New Plays seeks to expand the breadth and depth of thought in American theatre by encouraging people of all ages and all perspectives to write plays. FST has presented the Sarasota Festival of New Plays for 23 years.

New Play Development is the lifeblood of FST. It is a year-round activity that is fully integrated with each of the theatre’s other programs. FST’s approach to new play development focuses on the continued life of the work. Going beyond producing the world premiere, FST frequently provides plays with their 2nd, 3rd or 4th productions. In 2014, FST presented the World Premiere of Tom Jones by Mark Brown. In 2015, FST presented the Regional Premieres of Fly by Ricardo Khan and Trey Ellis and Dancing Lessons by Mark St. Germain. Most recently, FST presented readings of Teenage Dick by Mike Lew, The Rescued by Julie Marie Myatt, and How to Use a Knife by Will Snider in the Richard and Betty Burdick New Play Reading Series.

Tickets to the events, plays, and performances can be purchased through the FST Box Office by calling (941) 366-9000, or by visiting the website at floridastudiotheatre.org.

The Sarasota Festival of New Plays is sponsored by the Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenues, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Woman’s Exchange, Inc., and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.


Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Artist 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 Producing Artistic Director, 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 and 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.




The Adventures of Cheddar the Goldfish

Zander Moricz

Pine View School, Miss. Schran – 6th Grade

The Day the Sun Quit

Chesney Beckman, Michelle Bettis, Sebastian Catanese, Gavin Clayton, Michael Davis, Jordan Heyne, Alexis Huerta-Pineda, Kaiden Johnson, Ava Laas, Kaiden Lebiedz, Dan Martinez-Ramos,

Emma Passifume, Alexandra Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Chantal Sainz-Boris, Yuliana Soto, Simon Thayer, Harvey Wiggins, Dyauna Williams, Aaron Zinn

Phillippi Shores Elementary IB World School, Mrs. Kreger- 1st Grade

The Dragon vs. the Hiccups

Logan Weitzner

Fruitville Elementary, Mrs. Mayers– 4th Grade

The Encouraged Cow

Autumn Boehm, Levi Boehm, Payton Barnes, Hunter Greene, Seth Hembree, Josh Kinning,

Emilynn Lee, Margo Rouches, Ian Warner, Elvis Wiesler, Logan Willhoite

Ascention Lutheran School, Ms. Carbon– K-2nd Grades

Feels Like Flying

Owen Adams, Mia Chacon, Nella Duty, Bella Edleson, Joshua Feo, Jake Franca, Ella Joy,

Elyse Lovely, Valentino Marog, Anthony Moreno, Charles Rehm, Rachel Scharf, North Scott,

Sydney Scott, Scott Stevens, Emily Tewfik, Jackson Wegryzn

Ashton Elementary, Mrs Perry– 1st Grade


Luka Perry

Fruitville Elementary, Mrs. Rice– 3rd Grade

Living Together

Noam Drori

Shelanu School, Mrs. Pilosoph– 6th Grade

Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Patricio Esquer

IMG Academy, Mrs. Hahn– 5th Grade

The Monster Under the Bed

Madison Stebbins

M.J. Fletcher Elementary, Mrs. Reynolds– 3rd Grade

Princess Poetry Saves the Day

Viviana Serrano

Garden Elementary, Mrs. Davis– 2nd Grade



Stuck in Time

Mrs. Scheid’s 3rd Grade Class

Jesse P. Miller Elementary, Mrs. Scheid – 3rd Grade

SEVEN UP Winners

Books, Books, and More Books

Ryan Modjeski

Booker Middle School, Ms. Mills– 6th Grade

The Detention Room

Joanna Malvas

Pine View School, Mrs. Squires, M.Ed– 6th Grade

Fix It ER!

Fiona Coffey and Hannah Hewitt

Venice Middle School, Ms. Albanese– 7th & 8th Grades

A Lonely Flame

Seth Stahlmann

Generation Harvest, Mrs. Stahlmann– 8th Grade

Lost in London

Gregor Morgan and Hamish Wood

Queen Anne High School, Ms. Angela Malcolm– 9th Grade

Part of My Soul

Tatyana Chebotar

Humanitarian Linguistic Gymnasium #23, Ms. Mishina Galina– 10th Grade

Pressure of Life

Lucille Lawrence

Booker Middle School, Ms. Mills– 8th Grade

The Proposal

Rachel Hurley, Tori Kranz and Olivia Mota-Greenwood

Venice Middle School, Ms. Albanese– 8th Grade


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