The silver anniversary of Springboard to Learning’s longest-running program was always going to be special. But this year, the culmination of the WiseWrite Signature Residency has the potential to reach more viewers than ever before.
“COVID has inspired a new format for WiseWrite that may allow it to expand and go beyond the space of an indoor theater,” said Cathy Hartmann, Executive Director of Springboard to Learning.
Springboard to Learning will celebrate 25 years of WiseWrite with the annual WiseWrite Festival of One-Act Plays — however, this year’s festival, held on Friday, April 23rd, at 12:30pm, will be virtual, meaning anyone anywhere in the world can login and enjoy this showcase of St. Louis-area student playwrights.
WiseWrite helps build written literacy at the 5th-grade level in two area schools each year. Springboard to Learning Teaching Artists visit each participating class one day a week for a 26-week period, teaching students to craft their own plays. The student-written one-act plays are then juried to select up to a dozen that are performed by local professional actors at the Festival.
“I’ve heard people say over the years that they would do everything in their power to see the continuation of WiseWrite. Above any program that we offer, this program exemplifies some of our finest work,” said Hartmann.
Under the direction of Teaching Artists Glynis Brooks, Thomasina Clarke, Daniel Kelly, and Tara O’Nay, students at Mason Elementary School and Shaw Visual and Performing Arts Elementary School learned about the dramatic concepts of character development, plot analysis, conflict, cause and effect, and theatricality over the course of their 2020-2021 residency. This year’s Festival will feature plays about a gift shop teddy bear longing to be adopted, a crayon who wishes to write in a different color, a dog’s quest to catch a sneaky sausage, and more!
Springboard was also honored to re-engage its partnership with Marsha Coplon, who retired in June of 2020 after having managed the project for more than 20 years at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Marsha has been volunteering for Springboard since February, from her home state of North Carolina, by assisting in planning this year’s Festival and reading the students’ plays.
The WiseWrite Festival of One-Act Plays is free and open to the public and will be held Friday, April 23rd, 12:30pm, on Zoom at bit.ly/WiseWrite25. Guests can begin logging in at 12:15pm on the 23rd for the pre-show. For more information on Springboard to Learning and the WiseWrite Signature Program, please visit springboardstl.org, or call 314-768-9670.