Deadline approaches for Kids' Playwriting Festival at Dobama

Scene from previous Marilyn Bianchi Kids' Playwriting Festival performance.

Photo credit: Steve Wagner Photography

The Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival, an annual event at Dobama Theatre, is entering its 38th year of producing plays written by young people. The festival is scheduled for June, and the deadline to submit plays is March 1.

Bianchi, an actress, teacher, director and co-founder of Dobama Theatre, died of cancer in 1977. The festival was created in her name to carry out her wish to help Cleveland-area children discover their own voices and creativity through theater.

The festival’s mission is to provide a platform for children to express their thoughts, hopes, dreams and creativity through the writing of original plays.

Melissa Crum, Dobama’s education associate, said, "We believe the voices of our youth matter. We strive to support our playwrights by letting the heart and soul of their words shine through. We believe in the transformative power of theater, and its ability to bring communities together through the sharing of our stories."

Playwriting helps children explore essential narrative elements, such as setting, plot, character, conflict and solution. They become familiar with these elements in school, but are able to actively apply them through writing a play—an activity that flexes their creative muscles.

The festival invites Cuyahoga County students in grades 1–12 to submit their stories to the 2016 festival. The plays must be original work, and be submitted by March 1.

Judges select 15 to 20 plays, several of which will be performed live at Dobama Theatre. In addition, the playwrights whose works are selected for performance will be invited to attend rehearsals of their plays, receive tickets for opening night, and receive a special gift package. Winners will be notified by April 1.

For more information about the festival and how to make a submission, visit the Dobama website at, call 216-932-6838, or send an e-mail to Dobama Theatre is located at 2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights.

Owen Schneider

Owen Schneider is a marketing intern at Dobama Theatre.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 6:37 PM, 01.31.2016