Coterie encourages young playwrights


Press Release posted by Bob Evans


Spotlight on Local Teen Playwrights:

The Coterie’s 2019 Young Playwrights’ Festival

Scripted works by The Coterie’s Young

Playwrights’ Roundtable performed live on stage



WHAT: The Coterie’s annual Young Playwrights’ Festival

WHEN: Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

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

PRICE: $5.00 general admission

INFO / RESERVATIONS: The Coterie Box Office

Phone: (816) 474-6552     Online:

Kansas City, MO – It is The Coterie’s favorite time of the year when world premiere readings from members of The Coterie’s Young Playwrights’ Roundtable will be showcased during the annual Young Playwrights’ Festival at 7:00 p.m., May 5, at The Coterie Theatre, located on level 1 of the Crown Center Shops. The evening includes 75 minutes of spoken word, a song, and short plays.

This year’s Roundtable members were a tight-knit group who helped each other with peer feedback. The selected pieces in this year’s festival are a ‘sampler’ of their originality and imagination. There will be short plays, monologues, and spoken word,” 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.

This year’s festival will incorporate eight Roundtable scripts in one act. All are recommended as PG13 and are appropriate for teens through adults. 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 education director Amanda Kibler, Shawna Downing, and Todd Lanker. Stage manager for the festival is Zoie Perahoritis. The producer and facilitator of the festival is Jeff Church.

Admission for the Young Playwrights’ Festival is $5.00 and reservations are encouraged. Reservations can be made by phone at (816) 474-6552, online at, or in person at The Coterie Box Office. On the day of the performance, the Box Office will open at 5:00 p.m. All seating is general admission with theater doors opening 30 minutes prior to performance.


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

Selected Works for the 2019 Young Playwrights’ Festival (in order of performance)

Sincerely Me by Sydney Walker (Grandview High)

  • A best friend has insights into her best friend’s boyfriend

Box – Now 20% Off by Reilly Donnelly (St. Teresa’s Academy)

  • Hosts Glenn and Nancy are confronted with a perplexing box on their shopping network

Knowledge is Power by Conner Yamnitz (Blue Springs Freshman Center)

  • A flavorful twist on a nerd/bull encounter

It’s Called Fashion, Look It Up by Kimberly Girkin (Laurel Springs Online)

  • Mandy Styles makes an attempt to cast herself 9th Grade Fashion Guru in this screenplay

Song:  “Jim’s Own Boogie” by Cam Burns (Lansing High)        He’s smooth; he’s fast; will he take her soul?

Chills by Megan Bogner (Shawnee Mission South High)

  • Interwoven with the song above, a young girl struggles to control her hallucinations, unless they are real

The Trickey Trials by Ava Wolesky (Liberty North High)

  • Look out for the plot turns as this high school’s High Council Court goes into session

A Dollar by Jaelyn Stevens (Washington High)

 A summer day, a roadside, and an encounter with a comedian, a heroin, a villain, a tragedian, and more


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.

Playwright facilitators for 2018-2019 were Nancy Marcy, Emma Carter, and Lindsay Adams. 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.

2018-2019 Young Playwrights’ Roundtable Members

The Coterie Theatre

Megan Bogner (Shawnee Mission South High), Renee Born (Olathe North High), Cam Burns (Lansing High), Jonathon Cavanaugh (Basehor-Linwood High), Miah Clark (Shawnee Mission South High), Sofia Dadkhah (Shawnee Mission South High), Noah Dangel (Grandview High), Jacob Dickerson (Blue Springs Freshman Center), Reilly Donnelly (St. Teresa’s Academy), LyLena Estabine (Olathe Northwest High), Simone Folsom (Sumner Academy), Declan Franey (Blue Valley Northwest High), Charlotte Ganter (Blue Valley North High), Analiese Gaytan (Arrowhead Middle), Kimberly Girkin (Laurel Springs Online), Cierra Gonzales (Oak Park High), Maria Heath (Shawnee Mission South High), Juliet Her (Turner High), Tyler Johnson (Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy), Scarlett Jones (Blue Valley North High), Samuel Keeney (Pembroke Hill), Jaila Law (F.L. Schlagle High), Emma Lewis (Grandview High), SaVaughn McClaine (Sumner Academy), Kylie McCleary (Sumner Academy), Malachi Moore (Sumner Academy), Molly Polowniak (Blue Valley Southwest), Alexis Rainey (Grandview High), Seneca Sims (Shawnee Mission South High), Keeley Spencer (Notre Dame de Sion), Jaelyn Stevens (Washington High), Joshua Twitchell (Lansing High), Kassidy Villanueva (Wyandotte High), Sydney Walker (Grandview High), Heidi Welkner (Shawnee Mission South High), Emily Wheeler (Lee’s Summit West High), Ava Wolesky (Liberty North High), Conner Yamnitz (Blue Springs Freshman Center), Kaya Zwick (Turner High).

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