Students organize annual YPAS New Works festival


Audience gathers in the Black Box theater for New Works showing. Photo by: Alex Coburn

Nikhil Warrier

Audience gathers in the Black Box theater for New Works showing. Photo by: Alex Coburn
Audience members gather in the Black Box Theater for a New Works showing. Photo by Alex Coburn.

The New Works festival—a student-led, original works show—opened on March 10 and will run until March 19. The show features short plays written by students in Mr. Brian Hinds’s (Theatre) playwriting class and directed by students in all levels of Ms. Georgette Kleier’s (Theatre) directing course. As is the case for every YPAS production, each play’s cast comprises entirely student actors, with a particular focus on underclassmen.

“New Works is a festival showcasing the creative, brilliant artists of the next generation,” stage manager Emily Vicars (12, YPAS) said.

The show is run completely by students, with members of the directing class hand-selecting the plays they’d like to direct and the actors they want to cast. As the stage manager, Vicars is responsible for facilitating auditions, callbacks, scheduling, designer meetings and rehearsals. Vicars also attends every performance, operating the lighting cues and making sure the shows run smoothly.

The festival offers the chance for students with different interests throughout the school to collaborate in ways they ordinarily wouldn’t.

“You really get to know your actors, and for some of them, this was their first show,” Ben Bridgman (12, YPAS) said. “It’s such an honor to be someone’s first director. Plus, because we’re all friends with the playwrights, and many of us are in the same playwriting class, it’s a great feeling to bring their vision to life.”

New Works 2016 poster. Photo by Nikhil Warrier
A New Works poster hangs in Manual’s hallway. Photo by Nikhil Warrier.

Though the New Works festival primarily features theater performances, some student-choreographed dance pieces have also been included this year.

In order to facilitate the execution of so many short plays, each work is grouped into one of four slates. Though performances for Slates 1 and 2 have already come to a close, Slates 3 and 4 will begin their performances on Thursday. Slates 3 and 4 have matinees on 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18, respectively. The two slates will then perform together with an intermission in between at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19.