(Right) Belmont student Courtney Baker’s play Eastside Story

Student writers, actors create theatre festival

Writers and actors at Belmont secondary school are teaming up to showcase the Belmont Young Playwrights’ Festival.

Writers and actors at Belmont secondary school are teaming up to showcase the Belmont Young Playwrights’ Festival.

Four student-written plays are being performed by student actors at the second annual festival on Thursday.

Grade 12 student Courtney Baker’s play Eastside Story made the cut of 25 entires. “The play is about the main character Marie trying to solve her father’s murder,” Baker said.

Working alongside the actors and other writers in the class, Baker’s one-scene idea was transformed into a full-length play.

While writing the play, Baker and other student writers would watch the actors perform scripts and then change the dialogue to make it sound more realistic. The actors also helped generate ideas for the final script.

“This play is about the darker part of life,” said Grade 12 actor Mason Elvedahl, who plays Ryan.

On top of adding input into the scripts, actors also had to  develop the characters to be realistic. In the play Emma-Lynn Whitman, 16, portrays a six-year-old girl.

“It was fun, I get to be flamboyant, I had to change my voice a bit so I didn’t sound like a Grade 11 girl,” Whitman said. “All the characters are very believable.”

Working on Eastside Story was different than just picking up a finished script, Elvedahl said. “This brought us together and made us all friends, it was a team effort.”

“I am really impressed with the students’ work,” said Lauren Frodsham, Writing 12 teacher. “The students were learning to compromise and finding out what works best in the time frame.”

While Eastside Story is a serious play, other scripts showcase a more lighthearted side to student play writing.

The other three plays include The Drama Club, a coming of age story, Divine Dramady, a story of a maid for the Greek gods, and Catch Ya on the Flipside, a story set in a high school where no one is as they seem. Each play runs about 40 minutes.

About 25 students in the Writing 12 class wrote a short scenes with the potential to be turned into a play. Scenes were then passed onto drama students who read through and acted them out.

The actors then voted on their favourite scenes and four were selected to be expanded into full-length plays.

The festival is Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at Belmont secondary, 3067 Jacklin Rd. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. in the drama room. Tickets are by donations and people can enter the school at the north entrance.



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