Dobama announces winners of kidsí playwriting festival

A photo from last year's Marilyn Bianchi Kids' Playwriting Festival at Dobama Theatre.

Photo credit: Steve Wagner Photography

Dobama Theatre has announced the winners of the 38th Annual Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival. Five of the winners are from Cleveland Heights: Ruby Tugeau (for “The Circus Pilot”), Harrison Vandall (for “Attack of the Village”), Anthony Koonce (for “The Tragedy of Nisslo’s Diner”), Jon Morrow Jr. (for “The Chase”), and Maple Buescher (for “I’m Going to Steal The Queen’s Crown”).

Other winning entries came from students in Cleveland, Shaker Heights, Highland Heights, Bedford, Lakewood, Solon and North Royalton, among other cities. The winning plays will be performed at Dobama Theatre June 3–5, during a free weekend of theater for all.

Dedicated to the memory of Marilyn Bianchi, Dobama’s founder, the Kids’ Festival was created in 1979 to help Cleveland-area children discover their own voice, self-worth, and creativity through theater. Following Bianchi’s death, her family established the festival as a way of introducing young people to the joys and rewards of live theater.

According to Jonathan Wilhelm, producer of the Kids’ Fest, “Everybody who didn’t win [will receive] a certificate affirming that they wrote a play. We encourage every kid to write.”

A panel of judges selected the winning plays, submitted by Cuyahoga County students in grades one through 12. Plays were scored on creativity, writing and structure.

“Writers receive feedback through the process of bringing their plays to life onstage while working with a director. Along the way, the director may tweak the play with the help of the playwright,” said Wilhelm.

The winning playwrights also have the opportunity to be involved in the production. They learn the process of producing a play as well as ensuring that their play is recreated onstage as they envisioned it.

“The playwright is encouraged to attend a minimum of two rehearsals. They have open communication with the director. This is as close to the real process of producing a play as it can get for them,” said Wilhelm.

The opening night benefit is Friday, June 3, at 7:30 p.m.; and tickets are $25. The rest of the weekend is free: Saturday, June 4, at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, June 5, at 2:30 p.m.

For more information about the festival and to purchase tickets, visit or call 216-932-3396. Dobama Theatre is located at 2340 Lee Road, in Cleveland Heights.

Owen Schneider

Owen Schneider is a communications intern at Dobama Theatre.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 12:09 PM, 05.24.2016