Flagstaff Academy Dragon Elyse Prestopnik is one of the three winners in the 2021 Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) ATT&T High School and Middle School Playwriting Competition in the middle school category for The New Kids, co-written with Sarah Zhou, a Summit Middle School student in Boulder. The play is about middle school students (and brother and sister), Elmer and Evelyn, who work together to navigate a new school in this comedy of sibling bond and sense of self. Both Elyse and Sarah are in the sixth grade.
This past December, Ms. Terri Reh, Middle School Computer Science and Creative Writing teacher, held a special playwriting workshop with David Saphier, DCPA teacher artist, actor, and director for her creative writing students, where they learned about the DCPA AT&T competition.
"The number of students who attended Mr. Saphier's workshop was heartwarming because it was during their own personal time and made their day that much longer, but they represented Flagstaff Academy well and loved his activities," says Ms. Reh. "Having students participate in the contest was the icing on the cake. DCPA always hits it out of the park for Colorado students."
Now in its eighth year, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts has presented the AT&T High School Playwriting Competition. This year, the competition was expanded to include middle school students with a program that included free playwriting workshops and a professional review of all the one-act play submissions. This year there was a total of 129 submissions — 75 from high school students and 54 from middle school students. The New Kids, along with the other high school and middle school winners, will be included in the 2021 Playwriting Anthology. Since the program’s inception, the workshops and competitions have benefited more than 25,000 students.
Additionally, Elyse and Sarah have been invited to have their winning play produced by the Porchfront Theatre Collective in Longmont as part of an evening of original works with another playwright. The production is slated to be performed on Friday, June 25th.
Elyse Prestopnik, Flagstaff Academy 6th Grader Sarah Zhou, Summit Middle School 6th Grader