In the Moment: The Hub Theatre’s Emerging Writers Festival

If we in the theater universe want to nurture new and emerging playwrights, I would think the earlier we are there for them, the more likely we can be helpful. Once again, The Hub Theatre is providing mentoring and a live reading directed by a professional member of the local theater community to showcase the works of Northern Virginia High School and College playwrights. This is a rare opportunity for theatre outside of an academic setting to share brand new works from perhaps unknown playwrights.

So, I took the opportunity to chat with Artistic Director Helen Pafumi to learn more about this year’s Emerging Writers Festival. It will be held on Sunday, February 21st at John Swayze Theatre at the New School of Northern Virginia. Reservations are required.

David Siegel:  What led Hub to establish the Emerging Writers Festival?  

Artistic Director Helen Pafumi. Photo courtesy of The Hub Theatre.
Artistic Director Helen Pafumi. Photo courtesy of The Hub Theatre.

Helen Pafumi: Originally we had a slot for student writers within Hub’s New Play Fest, but as we continued we saw that we could not fit the wealth of young talent into such a limited window. We wanted to be able to devote more time and energy to working on these plays, which was just not possible when we were sandwiching them in with the work we were doing at Play Fest. Northern Virginia does not have an outlet for your playwrights, so this gave an opportunity to those who were interested in using their creative voice in this way.

How do you select the playwrights?

The plays are submitted from students at The New School of Northern Virginia, The Metropolitan School, and George Mason University. Our festival producers and myself read through the work and select the pieces, along with input from their instructors. The festival is meant to foster their work and encourage them to take the work further.

Please tell me a bit about this year’s playwrights and plays.

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Fallout by Sam Howard (New School of Northern Virginia), directed by Quill Nebeker.

Misfire by Kylie Levy (Metropolitan School of the Arts), directed by Matt Bassett.

Someone to Watch Over Me by Maggie Duncan (NSNVA), directed by Quill Nebeker.

A Couple Drinks by Madison Thornton (MSA), directed by Ryan Maxwell.

Concerning the Nature of Speculationby Annette Hasnas, directed by Quill Nebeker.

Rain by Kayla Fyfe, directed by Matt Bassett.

Chroma Circulation by Andrew Reid, directed by Matt Bassett.

Stitches by Emily Daenzer, directed by Ryan Maxwell.

Forensic Meat Puppetry by Gabriel Komisar, directed by Ryan Maxwell.

Please introduce this year’s playwrights.

Kylie Levy. Photo courtesy of The Hub Theatre.
Kylie Levy. Photo courtesy of The Hub Theatre.

Kylie Levy is a junior and founding student at the Academy at the Metropolitan School of the Arts in Lorton, VA. This is her first play, but she received an award for all-star actor in I Never Saw Another Butterfly as part of Virginia Theatre Association’s 2014 conference. She would like to thank Matt Bassett for his continued support in both her writing and acting.

Maggie Duncan is a junior at NSNVA who has always loved writing, and who discovered playwriting through one of her classes. By drawing parallels between writing stories and writing plays, she has come up with a few short plays of her own that she is very proud of.’

Samuel Howard is the writer of Fallout for the Youth Theatre. He is fifteen, and currently at the New School of Northern Virginia.

Annette Hasnas is thrilled to be a part of the Hub Theater’s Emergent Writers Program. She has a great interest in theater, having played such parts as Francis Flute in Synetic’s teen cast A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Belle in MSNV’s Beauty and the Beast, and Player King in Synetic’s teen cast Hamlet. In addition, she’s always enjoyed writing, though she’s done very little writing for the stage. Annette is thankful to everyone who has supported her, and eager to see where this opportunity takes her.

Gabriel Komisar has been telling stories for as long as he can remember. Only very recently has he had the opportunity to share them in a public forum. His works have been featured in Charlottesville’s own Gorilla Theater Productions’ Summer (2014) and September (2015) Shorts Festivals respectively and he is both delighted on honored to have this chance again. When Gabriel is not pretending to be writing, openly weeping over deadlines, or actually writing, he performs Shakespeare with the Britches and Hose Theater Company and reads comic books in his den.

Kayla Fyfe is a senior at George Mason University, where she is getting her Bachelors in Theater with a concentration in acting and directing. Rain is Kayla’s first playwriting credit, and she is thrilled to be a part of the festival this year. She is currently in rehearsals for Middletown at GMU, opening March 24th. Previous credits include the Mason Player’s productions of A Bright New Boise (Anna), and The Blue Room (Assistant Stage Manager), as well as Dominion Stage’s Bachelorette (Assistant Stage Manager). She would like to thank her friends and colleagues for inspiring this piece. Kayla is also a Teaching Artist with Acting for Young People.

Andrew Reid recently graduated from George Mason University with a BFA in playwriting and dramaturgy. Past Mason Player credits include An Experiment with an Air Pump (Assistant Director), Peter Pan: The Boy who Hated Mothers (Dramaturg) and The Ten Minute Play Festival 2014 & 2015, Monsters Calling Home and Here’s Your Crown (Playwright). His play, Saudade; the one where I miss you, had a staged reading recently at George Mason University and will be coming to the DC Capital Fringe Festival this summer. He is also a Teaching Artist for Acting for Young People.

Madison Thornton. Photo courtesy of The Hub Theatre.
Madison Thornton. Photo courtesy of The Hub Theatre.

Madison Thornton is a junior and founding student at the Academy at the Metropolitan School of the Arts located at the Lorton Workhouse. Maddi enjoys acting, dancing, voice, and playwriting, She recently received 2nd place recognition at the 2015 Virginia Theater Association for her original full length play At War.

Emily Daenzer is a junior at George Mason University, majoring in film and video studies with a concentration in screenwriting and a minor in anthropology. Before last semester she wasn’t interested theater or play writing but now she thinks it’s pretty rad, if excruciatingly painful and incredibly unforgiving. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, comedy and fantasy (as if that wasn’t already a given) and she hopes to have an Oscar in her hand one day (who doesn’t?). This is her first production.

What would you like audiences to come away with after attending the New Playwrights Festival?

My hope is that audiences see the rich talent that we have locally, and that they continue to foster the arts in our schools and community so that we have young people voicing their opinions and ideas in a creative and thoughtful way.

Where would you like the Hub Emerging Writers Festival to be in 3-5 years?

It is Hub’s intention to involve more schools in future festivals. We plan on bolstering our young writer development efforts and hope to see a line-up that includes a wider array of students.

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Emerging Writers Festival takes place on February 21, 2016 at The Hub Theatre performing in The New School of Northern Virginia’s John Swayze Theatre – 9431 Silver King Court, in Fairfax, VA. Tickets are free, so get them here