Student-written stories came to life as part of the What’s on Your Mind? New Play Project (WOYM). On January 13, 11 original short plays were presented in the Performing Arts Center—the culmination of an extracurricular program led by theater teacher Megan Schy Gleeson. “I’m really proud of these students and their desire to create new work based on their own experiences and the questions they are sitting with,” Schy Gleeson says.
This year’s student leaders—Hannah Bodnar ’24, Kelly Kong ’24, Liam O’Brien ’23, and Emma Somol ’23—worked with Schy Gleeson on every stage of the process, from initial planning to publicity. The collaborative group of both playwrights and actors, met weekly to read and provide feedback for drafts, offer support, and cast actors to rehearse for the final staged reading.
What’s On Your Mind? (WOYM) has been steadily growing since its creation, from eight students in 2021 to a team of 20 this school year. Students have also been expanding their creative horizons. “I am noticing more cross-over, with students who initially came to be actors, also trying their hand as a playwright too,” says Schy Gleeson.
Kelly Kong ’24 has been a part of the project for all three years. She has enjoyed seeing the variation in her personal choices towards writing, working with different actors, and re-finding the collective pace for each piece. “WOYM has allowed me to explore playwriting with a focus on constantly revising and improving my drafts,” she says. “Having your original work read aloud can always feel daunting, but this project has always given new and returning writers a space to experiment with something new—an invitation to speak ‘what’s on our minds’ through the world of plays.”
The project is open to students in all grade levels, and no auditions are required. Schy Gleeson reflects: “CA has a rich history for cultivating and celebrating original work from its students, which I believe is embedded in the soul of this institution’s character. The students’ courage and passion for sharing their work is an act of generosity which I hope will encourage further dialogue within the CA community on the questions each play presents.”