Huntington, MA – These are not your typical student plays. Although written by sixth grade students of Gateway Regional Middle School, the plays are produced by The Chester Theatre Company, which teams professional actors, directors and designers with the student playwrights to help bring their creative visions to life. The program is now in its third year, and the latest evening of truly unique ten minute plays – On The Other Hand… The Dilemma Plays – will be presented April 4th and 5th at 7pm, at the Gateway Performing Arts Center at the Gateway Regional School complex in Huntington, MA. Tickets, which are $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for students, will be sold at the door. Proceeds help fund work by future student playwrights.
The six zany, poignant, funny plays in On The Other Hand… are the culmination of an eight week, after-school play writing course followed by a weekend writing retreat led by The Chester Theatre Company Artistic Director Byam Stevens. At the retreat, each playwright is matched with a professional director, who acts as a mentor through the creative process.
According to Stevens, “Each of these plays deals with characters who have to weigh difficult choices — on the one hand something they desire, and on the other something they fear losing. The characters in question, whether they be a proto-feminist elephant, a Martian discovering the joys and sadness of planet Earth, or two architect brothers planning their next mega-project, all face dilemmas, the difficult choices that are at the heart of all good drama. As always, the range of material, the imagination and heart the that surfaces in each new group of young playwrights at Gateway never ceases to amaze.”
The Gateway Playwriting Project, which was developed in partnership with the UMASS Amherst Department of Theater, Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter High School and the Gateway Regional School District, is the recipient of the prestigious Champion of Arts Education Award from the Massachusetts Alliance Of Arts Educators.
The Gateway Playwriting Project is funded through the generous support of the Art Angels; Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts; Credit Data Services Inc. Fund; Lochridge-Watkins Charitable Foundation administered by Bank of America, Trustee; Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; Shurtleff Children’s Services of Westfield; and the Local Cultural Councils of Blandford, Chester, Huntington, Middlefield, Montgomery, Russell, and Worthington.
In addition to its professional season, CTC coordinates a wide range of theatre education outreach for youth of all ages. For more information, visit chestertheatre.org or call 413-354-7770.