CA students Kelly Kong, Smile Jiang, Liam O’Brien, Zoe Sachs, Hannah Bodnar, Kyra Lauren, and Eli Morton at the Boston Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.
On March 23, three original plays by Concord Academy students were performed at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) as part of the annual Massachusetts Young Playwrights’ Project (MYPP) festival “New Noises.” Congratulations to the students whose works were featured this year: Kyra Lauren ’22, Costumes; Liam O’Brien ’23, Possibilities; and Smile Jiang ’24, As Though That Were Love.
As part of the MYPP process, CA theater teacher Megan Schy Gleeson coordinates with the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre to bring a mentor-playwright to campus to work with the students for two intensive workshops, which culminate with the students each writing their own 10-minute play to submit for inclusion in the festival. Generally one to three plays from each high school are featured.
When the CA student playwrights traveled to Boston for the festival, they worked with professional directors and actors from the Boston area, who presented a staged reading of their plays. The plays were also discussed with Kate Snodgrass, BPT’s artistic director, with the professional actors in the audience. Students whose plays were not being worked on attended workshops with a theater focus.
On the day CA students participated in the festival, Debra Wise, the artistic director of the Underground Railway Theatre at Central Square, gave an inspiring talk about the many hats theater folks wear. Shelley Bolman, a CA theater teacher, joined the group of professional actors to work on new plays during that day too.
Kate Snodgrass, BPT artistic director of BPT, with two CA students, Eli Morton and Kyra Lauren, doing a cold-read of a new play.
More Arts Stories
On May 17 and 18, acclaimed dancer, choreographer, and educator Rashaun Mitchell ’96 visited Concord Academy to share his artistry with the CA community. Mitchell gave a talk and demonstration with three collaborators in the dance studio. Several CA students joined him for an improv dance workshop. And in his Hall Fellow Lecture, he shared his personal story, as a late bloomer who started dance training at 15 years old at CA, as a mentor and teacher who has encouraged his students not to fear failure but to use it as a catalyst for growth, and as an artist who works in many forms.
On April 29 and 30, the Concord Academy Performing Arts Department staged The Cradle Will Rock. Originating during the Great Depression as part of the Federal Theatre Project, the play in music takes satirical aim at exploitative labor and everyone who enables corruption. “What I wanted to hit home with the students, and with this production,” said guest director Sarah Shin, “is that change starts with empathy.”
“The arts are the healing balm of the world,” said Andrea Renee Long-Naidu in an artist talk at Concord Academy on April 27. CA dance program co-directors Rika Okamoto and Alex Brady moderated this all-school assembly, and the Q&A session gave students a chance to ask several questions about Long-Naidu‘s art form, her career as a professional dancer, and diversity in the dance world.