Baltimore Center Stage’s 36th Annual Young Playwrights Festival will take place virtually in 2021. Festival organizers have also announced that this year’s program will include free virtual residencies for multiple classrooms, an online residency for Maryland students and expanded works that will be included in the festival.
“The Young Playwrights Festival and our residency programs are just one of the many ways that Baltimore Center Stage is staying open for storytelling this year,” notes Director of Artistic Partnerships and Innovation Annalisa Dias in a media statement. “I’m excited that we’ll be working with students and teachers to foster storytelling and creativity, especially now when they both feel so needed. I’m looking forward to our virtual Young Playwrights Festival this spring and can’t wait to read all the inspiring work that I know young people will create and share with us!”
According to Baltimore Center Stage, the organization receives hundreds of plays from participants in its residencies and more from students across Maryland. Up to six pieces of work are selected to receive a virtual production created by Baltimore Center Stage. All six student artists selected are matched with a professional mentor who helps them refine their work before it’s presented. This year’s event will be streamed via Facebook and YouTube on a date to be announced.
The theme for this year’s festival, “Eyes on the Horizon,” dovetails with another initiative that will be the focus for 2021. Baltimore Center Stage is partnering with DewMore Baltimore, a youth-driven organization focused on civic engagement through artistic programming. DewMore Baltimore will assist Baltimore Center Stage in reviewing students’ submitted work in spoken word poetry. This year, the open call for work is expanding to include spoken word poetry in addition to plays.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Baltimore Center Stage is offering its curriculum for downloading by students and teachers. Students have the option to participate in an online residency in February conducted by Baltimore Center Stage’s teaching artists.
The Young Playwrights Festival call for submissions is now live. Students can find more information on the Baltimore Center Stage website. The deadline for entries is Feb. 28.