MKA Upper School Theater Students are Recognized with Awards
MKA is pleased to announce that junior Brennan Columbia-Walsh was awarded 1st place in the 19th annual Young Playwrights Competition “in recognition of the quality of [his] work and a vote of confidence in [his] future growth.” Ava Chickering, also a junior, received the distinction of Honorable Mention. The Theater Project, based in Union, NJ, sees several hundred submissions each year and states, “The goal of the competition is to encourage the next generation of theater practitioners and audience by honoring their work and bringing it to life.” Award winners receive a cash prize, opportunities for one-on-one tutorials, and their placing work is performed by The Theater Project’s professional actors in a virtual awards ceremony.
MKA alum and Playwright-in-Residence Rob Gelberg ‘10 has been teaching a playwriting course at the Upper School since 2017. He has centered his teaching process on the two fundamental building blocks of all dramatic writing, characters and dialogue, in order to encourage students to find their voice and hone their process. Rob shares, “I highly suspect [that Brennan and Ave were recognized] because of the strength of their individual voices as playwrights. That, and their work ethic: both Brennan and Ava are beyond dedicated not just to their class work but also to their own personal development outside of class. Brennan is as prolific a writer as I’ve ever come across, and Ava puts in hours and hours of work into researching other writers and plays to figure out what makes them work and how she can use that information to better her own writing.” In January a monologue Ava wrote was selected and published online by the Manhattan Theatre Club as part of their Student Monologue Challenge. We are so proud that the hard work of our students, with the support of active, engaged, and established mentors, has been recognized.