Dobama presents annual Bianchi Kidsí Playwriting Festival

The 46th Annual Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival (MBKPF) will honor 24 young playwrights the weekend of June 7, 8, and 9. More than 250 students in grades 1–12 submitted plays to this year’s MBKPF, which is the oldest event of its kind in the nation.

MBKPF is the culmination of Dobama Theatre’s Young Playwrights Program, which teaches playwriting to students across Northeast Ohio. This year-round education program is taught by professional playwrights and theater artists. The wide-ranging resources available include classroom residencies, virtual workshops, instructional videos, and a fully adaptable curriculum based on grade level. These resources provide the necessary tools for interested students to submit 10-minute scripts of any genre for consideration for the festival.

Once students submit their original plays, every play is read and scored by at least three adult judges with experience in writing, theater arts, and/or education. This year more than 65 judges contributed to the scoring process. 

MBKPF was created in honor of Dobama co-founder Marilyn Bianchi. An actress, teacher and director, Bianchi passed away in 1977 after battling cancer. During her last five years she did the work she loved most—encouraging children to discover their own voices, self-worth, and creativity through theater. Bianchi’s family and friends established this festival in her name, to continue introducing kids to the joys and rewards of live theater and to celebrate the creativity of young writers.

Plays to be produced this year were written by Nathan Balk, Mia Barefoot, Lauren Borst, R'lexceia Cannon, Gloria Chasney, Griffin Conway, Ellyiot Garcia, Mia Hart, Katie Scheff, Sachi Shah, and Thomas Richards V, with honors being awarded to plays by Olivia Airgood, Avighn Asur, Timothy Denysyuk, Tessa Okuh, Sophia Petrovic, Rithvik Prakash, Lilith Schmidt, Katherine Sheeran, Sophie Tomaszewska, Sophia Vovos, Mae Wallace, Charlotte White, and Jonathon Wysochanski.

The produced plays will be directed by Chennelle Bryant-Harris, Rachel Gold, Brooke Myers, Cali Parey, India Pierre-Ingram, Jonah Raider-Roth, Corin Self, Lily Warner, Carrie Williams, and Latecia D. Wilson-Stone.

Tickets for the Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival’s Opening Night Benefit are $25. The benefit takes place on Friday, June 7, at 7 p.m.

Admission is free for the performances on Saturday, June 8, at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, June 9, at 2 p.m.

Reservations can be made by calling 216-932-3396 or visiting

Emily Polcyn

Emily Polcyn is a resident associate director in arts administration at Dobama Theatre.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:39 AM, 05.29.2024