Awards and Recognitions

Congratulations, Playfest 2022-’23 Playwrights!

Aug. 10, 2022

Three local playwrights will have their original one-act dramas produced on the Spotlight stage for Playfest 2022-’23, Feb. 10-19, 2022.

The winners of SYT’s third annual Playfest competition are:

  • Chris Brattin
  • Max Mendoza
  • Spencer Wareing

Congratulations to these talented creators!

Spotlight Youth Theatre Playfest 2021-'22, competition winner Rebecca Bain
Spotlight Youth Theatre Playfest 2021-'22, competition winner Katie Kloberdanz
Spotlight Youth Theatre Playfest 2021-'22, competition winner Zoey Waller
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“I Never Would’ve Guessed”
By Chris Brattin

Five teens, and one suspicious stray cat, meet around the fire on the last night of summer camp. “I Never Would’ve Guessed” is a hilarious look at how secrets among friends are rarely secrets.

“The 7 AM Bus”
By Max Mendoza

Bo unravels the mystery of crazy events during a long wait at a bus stop. “The 7 AM Bus” is an absurdist, Twilight Zone-style look at how to value every minute we might have.

“Boarding for Neverland”
By Spencer Wareing

Atticus and Kylie’s chance meeting at the airport as children forges a lifelong bond. “Boarding for Neverland” is a moving experience of friendship sustaining our trials and transformations.

Calling all young playwrights!

Inspired by the impressive results and the variety of scripts received in the first three annual contests, Spotlight strongly encourages young playwrights to consider next summer’s contest and to start early in putting your dreams on the page!

Tips for playwrights…

  • Proofread and re-write. The total time spent on writing is only a small part of the process. To get a taste of how others might receive your writing, try putting your first draft away for as long as your schedule allows — from a few days to a few months. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to view your work with fresh eyes and spot the changes your work may need.
  • Test your dialogue out loud. Read your script aloud as if real people are saying the words you’ve written. You’ll spot the awkward parts right away.
  • Seek out feedback. Alternatively, or in addition to your own proofreading, show your scripts to others who can be honest in their feedback. Ask them to run the lines with you aloud. Also (perhaps from a different person) get help with spelling and formatting issues, if you need it. First impressions count.

The care put into a script shows when the time comes for others to evaluate it.

Spotlight’s Playfest productions are not the end goal for any of the winning scripts. In some cases, the same scripts (or further re-writes) may be promoted for publication or for other play festivals.

In all cases, we hope that the experience of writing a play—regardless of whether it wins anything, or whether it gets staged or sold—sparks the creativity of everyone who completes that special accomplishment.

Aside from Playfest, all up-and-coming writers and creators are welcome to consult with Spotlight artists about their writing projects, whether they are as easy to workshop as children’s theatre camp shows, or as ambitious as full-length musicals. Email to get in touch.

About the contest…

“Dream It. Think It. Create It.” has become the permanent theme of Playfest.  Writers are challenged to create all-original plays with a running time between 15 and 35 minutes, applying any topic, theme, or style that they value.

Their works also allow for casts of nine or fewer actors per play, although more characters are optional if it’s possible for some actors to play double roles. While youth theatre often allows for large casts, smaller casts tend to be favored by other theatres and festivals staging one-act plays.

Playfest 2022-’23 will feature all three of the above plays, combined in one show under 90 minutes, for eight performances Feb. 10-19, 2023. For the first time, Playfest will utilize the intimate black box-style performance space of the Spotlight Studio.

All entrants in the contest (which ended July 1, open to playwrights ages 16-22), received a review from Spotlight writer/directors to highlight major strengths of their plays and areas to work on, just for participating. To promote impartiality, the writers’ names were withheld from the judges during the selection process.

Winners received a $100 prize funded by a contest sponsor. By entering, the winners also gave permission to Spotlight to workshop and perform their plays for one debut production (i.e. Playfest). The playwrights are encouraged to get involved with the Playfest production, alongside the directors as their work is workshopped for its stage premiere.

The writers may choose to promote and/or publish their works for performances in theatres or schools later. Having prior productions on the résumé is a plus!