Stepping Out

TheatreWorks showcases students’ plays

Young Playwrights
Courtesy of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Sean Okuniewicz, clockwise from top left, Nicole Analise Javier, Michelle Skinner and David Lee Huynh perform a short play written by a Burlingame High School student as part of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s Young Playwrights Project.

High school students participating in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s annual Young Playwrights Project develop one-act plays, transforming their lens of the world into a reality.

This year’s program is completely virtual, allowing students to explore playwriting in a different way.

Sinjin Jones, one of the project’s teaching artists, said every student brings a unique perspective.

“If I had a class of 33 students and everyone wrote a romantic comedy that took place in a coffee shop, each one of them would be very different,” said Jones, who also serves as artistic director at Mountain View’s Pear Theatre.

Jones this month has been working with students at Gunn High School to develop short plays.

“The great thing about the way in which I am able to work with students through the Young Playwrights Project is that I’m able to meet them where they are (with) the stories they want to tell – whether the stories are quirky and weird and fun and odd or very deep and heartfelt and meaningful,” he said.

While drive and a willingness to work are important, Jones noted that budding playwrights tend to share a few other characteristics as well.

“For me, the people who are most suited for this are folks who are curious about the world, folks who like to observe and are interested in putting in work to make their observations a reality,” he said.

Hillsdale, Burlingame and Aragon high school students completed the Young Playwrights Project in March. The Gunn program, which began later, concludes this month.

Students from Gunn have created a wide array of plays, touching on topics from carrots and pizzas to college admissions and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Once the students finish developing their 10-minute plays,

Jones said he has “the very difficult job of choosing eight of them” to be further developed and performed by professional actors.

Before that, the eight Gunn productions will be performed and directed by participating students over Zoom. The livestream, set for 7 p.m. today, is free. For the link, visit tinyurl.com/yzk88tz4.

For more information on TheatreWorks, visit theatreworks.org.

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