For the third year in a row, Explorer West Students walk away with top honors in the ACT Theatre Young Playwrights Program. Annually, ACT Theatre, a professional equity theatre located in downtown Seattle, hosts more than 200 high school and middle school students from across King County in the Young Playwrights Program. Seventh grade students, Makenzie White and Brett Jenkins are two of the eight students selected to win the top prize, a production of their play with professional actors at ACT Theatre. Also in the seventh grade, Lola DePuma and West Lowe received one of the 22 honorable mentions in the contest.
Brett Jenkins’s play “Kitty Noire” is about a detective who has lost his pet lynx and Makenzie White’s play “A Dragon’s Tale” is about a collection of fairy tale characters that choose to leave their book in the library and adventure beyond their pages into other books.
This is the third year that Explorer West Middle School students have been honored in the Young Playwrights Program and the second year that they have been selected as one of the top eight plays in the city. The Young Playwrights Program is now a staple in the Drama Program at Explorer West, led by David Orace Kelly. It features a guest playwright from ACT Theatre that co-teaches in the classroom, helping each seventh grade student to write a one-act 10-minute play over the course of 10 weeks.
In addition to the contest with ACT Theatre, the seventh grade plays are entered into the Explorer West One-Act Play Festival Contest. Approximately 12 plays are selected each year for the annual school festival. The festival features all student work with students in the positions of actor, director, designer, and producer.