Coterie encourages young playwrights


Posted by Bob Evans


Spotlight on Local Teen Playwrights

Young Playwrights’ Festival 2021: Fanfiction Vignettes

Nine short World Premieres written by
The Coterie’s Young Playwrights’ Roundtable
performed live on stage


WHAT: The Coterie’s Young Playwrights’ Festival 2021: Fanfiction Vignettes

WHEN: Sunday, May 2, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Coterie Theatre, Level 1 of Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO

PRICE: $5.00 to attend in-person; Advance reservations required

INFO / TICKETS:  |  BOX OFFICE: 816.474.6552

Kansas City, MO – It is The Coterie’s favorite time of the year when nine short world premiere readings by members of The Coterie’s Young Playwrights’ Roundtable will be showcased during the annual Young Playwrights’ Festival at 7:00 p.m., May 2, at The Coterie Theatre, located on level 1 of the Crown Center Shops. The evening includes 50 minutes of fanfiction monologues inspired from sources such as Marvel, DC Comics, Harry Potter, and even Mary Poppins.

Young Playwrights’ Festival 2021: Fanfiction Vignettes
“This year’s Roundtable members met via Zoom all year long and grew into a tight-knit group of 29 who enthusiastically helped each other with peer feedback. The selected pieces in this year’s festival are a ‘sampler’ of their originality and imagination,” states facilitator Jeff Church, Coterie Producer Artistic Director, who has been facilitating Coterie Roundtables since the early ‘90s.

Rich and varied theatrical writings by our city’s most gifted young playwrights emerge from a yearlong process. A collection of new plays is forged into an ambitious festival of script-in-hand readings. The Coterie’s Young Playwrights’ Roundtable features new work in a festival recognizing quality writing by young people, a highlight in The Coterie’s season.

Young Playwrights’ Festival 2021: Fanfiction Vignettes will incorporate nine Roundtable scripts in one act, no intermission. The evening is recommended for grades 4 through adult, and masks will be required. The Coterie invites the public to get a fascinating insight into the minds of young adults today.

Professional directors for this year’s festival are Coterie Artistic Director Jeff Church, Coterie Education Director Amanda Kibler, and UMKC Associate Professor of Theatre in Acting Carla Noack. Stage manager for the festival is Matthew Koehler.

Young Playwrights’ Festival 2021: Fanfiction Vignettes is a ticketless, socially distanced event. It is also an all-masked audience event, with the performers (all vaccinated) each performing a monologue with a face shield. Admission for the Young Playwrights’ Festival is $5.00 and advance reservations are required due to reduced seating capacity. Unlike past Coterie productions, seating is not General Admission. Instead, socially distanced seating pods will be assigned so patrons are asked not to congregate in The Coterie lobby prior to the performance. The theater will open for seating 30 minutes prior to the performance. Contact the Box Office to attend Young Playwrights’ Festival virtually. Reservations can be made by phone at (816) 474-6552 or online at On the day of the performance, the Box Office will open at 6:00 p.m.

The following is a list of productions, the playwrights, and their schools:

Selected Works for Young Playwrights’ Festival 2021: Fanfiction Vignettes
by Maria Heath
 (Shawnee Mission South High)
– Inspired by The Avengers films

Little Sister
by Megan Bogner
 (Shawnee Mission South High)
– Inspired by The Avengers films

Alfred XXIV
by Preya Nguyen
 (Pembroke Hill)
– Inspired by Mary Poppins

Adopted Daughter
by Cheyenne Crew
 (F.L. Schlagle High)
– Inspired by the Batman comics

by Tucker Rushing
 (Belton High)
– Inspired by DC Comics

Lady M
by Claire Redick
 (The Barstow School)
– Inspired by Shakespeare’s Scottish play

Dear Cedric
by Kayleeann Milborn
 (Sumner Academy)
– Inspired by Harry Potter

Join Me
by Tyler Johnson
 (Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy)
– Inspired by Star Wars

Mistaken Identity
by El O’Brien 
(Blue Valley North High)
– Inspired by DC Comics

Reaching the Write Minds was established during Jeff Church’s residency at The Kennedy Center to give a voice to emerging young playwrights. Highly acclaimed for its innovative approach to motivate and encourage young talent, Church launched Kansas City’s Reaching the Write Minds program in 1992. During the Reaching the Write Minds five-hour seminar, students learn to create settings, build characters and, ultimately, devise a scenario for a complete play. Selected participants from the Reaching the Write Minds seminars are subsequently invited to become members of the Young Playwrights’ Roundtable.

Lauded because the program is a series of interactive working sessions, not a contest, the Young Playwrights’ Roundtable stimulates young writers through their instruction via a mentoring approach between Church and peer members of the Roundtable. Members meet throughout the school year. Once students are selected, they remain members of the Roundtable until they graduate from high school. Playwright facilitators for 2020-2021 were Nancy Marcy, Lacy Cunningham, and R.H. Wilhoit.

2020-2021 Young Playwrights’ Roundtable Members

Greta Albrecht (Shawnee Mission South High), Megan Bogner (Shawnee Mission South High), Ivory Carney (Allen Village School), Adela Courtright (Leavenworth High), Cheyenne Crew (F.L. Schlagle High), Sofia Dadkhah (Shawnee Mission South High), Camille Ferguson (Heritage Christian Academy), Sydney Fraga (Pembroke Hill), Declan Franey (Blue Valley Northwest High), Kimberly Girkin (Blue Springs South High), Katy Harris (Bonner Springs High), Maria Heath (Shawnee Mission South High), Tyler Johnson (Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy), Scarlett Jones (Blue Valley North High), Emma Lewis (Grandview High), Thomas Merritt-Meneses (F.L. Schlagle High), Kayleeann Milborn (Sumner Academy), Preya Nguyen (Pembroke Hill), El O’Brien (Blue Valley North High), Noah Orlich (Summit Trail Middle), Claire Redick (The Barstow School), Tucker Rushing (Belton High), Keeley Spencer (St. Teresa’s Academy), Jaelyn Stevens (Washington High), Kaleigh Thornton (Pembroke Hill), Willie Vela (J.C. Harmon High), Grace Weber (Pembroke Hill), Brandie Welkner (Shawnee Mission South High), Ava Wolesky (Liberty North High)

The Coterie Theatre was designated by TIME magazine in the top three theaters for young audiences in Nov. 2004, calling it “groundbreaking… one of the nation’s most respected.” The Coterie, located in Kansas City, Missouri, has been at the forefront of commissioning new works or adaptations that contribute to the field of theatre for young audiences. More than 50 world or American premieres for all ages have been produced by The Coterie over the last 30 years, during Artistic Director Jeff Church’s tenure, including hosting multiple major Broadway composers and lyricists to shape quality musicals for youth and families. The Coterie is interested in intergenerational conversation, and consistently includes teen programming in its season and outreach efforts. The Coterie’s community programming redefines traditional notions of work for young audiences with its unique dramatic writing programs, teen LGBTQ work, as well as its AIDS/STD education/prevention program, free of charge to 8,000 teens per year, overseen by Executive Director Joette Pelster and a dedicated staff. All these components serve an average of 80,000 per year through over 350 performances. The Coterie Theatre School has drama class locations throughout greater Kansas City. Donate at


Due to the nature of live theatre, play selection, performance schedule and casting are subject to change.

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