Lucille Lortel Theatre Announces 2024 NYC Public High School Playwriting Fellows | Playbill

Education News Lucille Lortel Theatre Announces 2024 NYC Public High School Playwriting Fellows

After weeks of mentoring from industry professionals, each young playwright's work will be presented in an invitation-only live performance March 25.

Kelsey Cruz, Kenny Iñiguez, and Jordan Jenkins

The Lucille Lortel Theatre has announced the recipients of its 5th annual NYC Public High School Playwriting Fellowship. The program was created to grant young writers access to professional mentors, and facilitate the production of an original one-act play by each fellow.

The 2024 Fellows are Kelsey Cruz from Belmont Preparatory High School in the Bronx, Kenny Iñiguez from Manhattan Bridges High School in Manhattan, Jordan Jenkins from Brooklyn High School of the Arts in Brooklyn, Yan Bo Lin from Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School in Queens, Autumn Phillips from Curtis High School in Staten Island, and Vanessa Wu from Pathways to Graduation in Brooklyn.

Each aspiring playwright submitted an artistic statement and a creative writing sample, which were then judged by a panel of playwrights and directors including Preston Burger, Gethsemane Herron-Coward, Eugene Ma, Cherry Lou Sy, and Gabriel Vega Weissman.

In January, fellows participated in eight workshop sessions led by their mentor, Nilan. The group also worked with director Kimille Howard. All six of the fellows' plays will be presented in an invitation-only live performance March 25 at Rattlestick Theater. Howard will direct each presentation. Each fellow will also receive a $500 honorarium for participating in the program, plus a published collection of all six plays. 

“Now in our fifth year, we were so pleased with the response to the changes we made, creating more access to the program. It’s more important than ever to encourage young artists to share their voices and part of the mission of the Lucille Lortel Theatre is to foster, support, and promote new and diverse theater voices,” George Forbes, Executive Director of the Lucille Lortel Theatre, said in a statement. “We are also extremely grateful to Peter Avery and the NYC Department of Education for all their assistance.”

“One of the foundational goals of any educational initiative is to foster student voice and the chance to share points of view," added Peter Avery, Director of Theater for the NYC Department of Education. "I am so appreciative of The Lucille Lortel Theatre’s Playwriting Fellowship which encourages NYC public school teens to consider the world around them, to express their unique insights creatively through original plays. Beyond the stories we share, we need to continue focusing on whose stories are heard, or not yet heard, in order to truly come together as a society. How inspiring for these diverse young artists to have theater professionals see them, hear them and bring them from page to stage by a professional team of actors and directors." 

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