Did you ever dream of watching the stories you’ve created come to a professional stage? This weekend, this dream will come true for 10 local high school students — and  you’re invited to join in on the experience.

This Saturday, April 29, starting at 7:30 p.m., The Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center (soon to be the Appell Center for the Performing Arts) will host its second annual High School Playwriting Festival. The festival will include 10-minute plays written by students from Central, Dover, West York and Red Lion Area school districts. General admission tickets are $10 and students are $7, with tickets available online or at the box office.

With more than 45 works submitted this year, the competition encourages students to create and express their own perspectives on life. Each of the 10 contest winners receives a director, design team and a cast to create an authentic production. In fact, the festival was founded with the desire to help students experience what it was like to watch their stories go from idea to performance in a professional setting.

Festival director Lauren Burke explains that Cassie Rush, director of education at the Strand-Capitol, taught playwriting residencies at two area high schools last year and selected Burke to direct the festival. “The kids not only get to immerse themselves in this wonderful creative process, but they also make new friends from different places,” Burke says. “I wish there was something like this for me when I was in high school!”

This year, Burke was asked not only to return as the festival director, but she also had the opportunity to teach playwriting at Dover Area High School. Dover student Katie Seigle shared that Burke was actually her inspiration to get involved. After Burke conducted playwriting workshop at her school, Seigle decided to take her shot at professional playwriting. Seigle adds that entering the contest “helped me grow as a writer and also further interested me in many of the other branches of theater.” Along with expanding her own knowledge of playwriting, she’s excited to experience everyone else’s play as well.

Seigle says that although she writes short stories and has been involved in a few impromptu skits, her play is the first one she’s ever written. “It goes to show that you really can do anything, if you work enough,” she says.

Seigle’s play, entitled Crowded Room, explores how people put on different masks in different situations. She’s keeping the plot a secret from her family and friends and is eager to see the reactions her play receives.

“I am ecstatic to see my play come alive,” Seigle says. “It blows my mind that only a couple of months ago this story was an idea in my head and now I get to share it with the community.”


Below is a look at the performances you can catch on stage tomorrow.

Behind the Gilded Doors by Nicholas Martinez, Central York High School

Blue Jay on High by Paige Dern, Dover Area High School

Chameleon by Gavin P. McCabe, Central York High School

Crowded Room by Kathryn Seigle, Dover Area High School

Don’t Go Into the Woods by Lauren Jasitt, Central York High School

Lewis and Clark and the Data Crisis by Aubrie Wise, Red Lion Senior High School

Phantom Force by Roselyn Spence, Dover Area High School

The Red Victor by Isaac Embry, Central York High School

The Socialite by Hannah Kibler, Central York High School

Stranger than Strange by Lillian Hoover, West York Area High School

Writer: Brandi Mummert for YRK Magazine
Photography Courtesy Lauren Burke for the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center