Lots of girls want to be a famous actress when they grow up, but what about being a playwright? Girls’ Write is a program that teaches girls that “the future is in their hands,” says Christie Winn, director of Girls’ Write. It shows girls the process of playwriting “from page to stage” and when they see the final result, they are so proud.
According to Winn, this program tells girls that they have the power to do anything. It boosts their self-esteem and shows them that anything is possible.
Girls’ Write started with Angela Astle, the executive producer. Astle wanted to involve women of all ages in their Athena Project, a non-profit organization that produces plays written by women. Did you know that only 17 percent of plays produced on- and off-Broadway were by women? The Athena Project is helping to change that percentage.
This year there are six plays in Girls’ Write. All of them are written by girls in middle school through high school. Delaney Sharpe is 15 years old and her play is called “Dickenson Died Alone.” It is a tribute to poet Emily Dickenson. It is about a girl named Lila who takes a test with the National Association of Mental Illness and realizes she has very strong indications of being a psychopath. This play is about how she gets a diagnosis and about how she and her parents deal with it.
“It is putting mental illness in a new light,” says Delaney.
Some other plays include “Don’t Bury Me Until I’m Dead,” “Ellie’s Birthday Surprise” and “Last Words.” Many of the plays are based on the girls’ real life experiences.
But these girls didn’t just write these plays in an hour. They spent 6 to 8 weeks developing the plays. Each girl has a mentor who works on the play with them. Each play is 10 minutes long.
Short workshop productions of these plays will be presented during the Girls’ Write Plays In Progress Series at the Aurora Fox Main Stage Theater on March 30. For more information, visit http://www.athenaprojectfestival.org/mentor.html