Song & Stage

Stony Brook Southampton Hosts YAWP Middle School Playwrights Festival

On Saturday, May 14, the Avram Theater at the Stony Brook Southampton Campus will host the 8th Annual YAWP Middle School Playwrights Festival, where it will unveil five short plays written and performed by middle school students who were accepted into the program.

More than 100 students participated in the residency, chosen from Young Artists and Writers Program (YAWP) playwriting classes taught at Bridgehampton High School, Eastport South Manor High School, The Ross School in East Hampton and Shelter Island School. Once accepted, students were taught the essentials of playwriting, strengthening their ability to express ideas through characters, plot and setting, and further establishing their talents for the stage.

The event will signify a collaboration between professional, established writers and directors, and students with interests ranging from acting and writing to designing for the stage. After two months of hard work and mentoring by the program’s theater and writing professionals, the students will work with professional directors and see their plays come to life onstage and before an audience.

The Young Artists and Writers Program is helmed by Executive Director and established children’s author, Emma Walton Hamilton with program director and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship screenwriter Will Chandler. Both have ties to the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor—Hamilton is Bay Street’s co-founder and Chandler an educational director.

Backing up Hamilton and Chandler are the Stony Brook Creative Writing MFA program’s faculty, including novelist and MFA Director Robert Reeves; Whiting Award-winning poet Julie Sheehan; best-selling memoirist and editor-in-chief of The Southampton Review, Lou Ann Walker; and screenwriter and Emmy award-winning producer Annette Handley Chandler.

The YAWP Middle School Playwrights Festival begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 at the Avram Theater, in the Fine Arts Building on the campus of Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Old Montauk Highway, Southampton. Tickets for the performance are free. For reservations and more information, email

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