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Detroit Youth Theater produces works by 10 young playwrights, lyricists at DIA – Macomb Daily | Pro Club Bd

From 50 entries, 10 finalists were selected for the Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit’s annual New Voices: Detroit Youth Playwright and Composers Competition – three of them Oakland County students.

Eleventh grade students from Rochester High School, Southfield Christian School and Michigan Virtual Charter Academy in Hazel Park were among the young playwrights and lyricists selected as winners of the third annual competition, held by Metro’s students in grades 8 through 12 Detroit can submit a rough draft of a play or song to be selected and matched with a professional mentor to shape their idea into a short production or composition.

Each award-winning playwright or lyricist will see their vision come to life as each script and composition is directed by a local professional and produced by Mosaic Youth Theater on August 12 at 6 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

This year’s theme, Behind the Mask, aims to shed light on the importance and impact of mental health in adolescents. The students chose the topic as a pun as they have had to wear masks during the pandemic, while young people often also feel they need to wear ‘masks’ to hide their true selves in social situations and in everyday life.

“When the young artists suggested adolescent mental health as a theme for this round of New Voices: Detroit, we wholeheartedly supported them,” said DeLashea Strawder, Executive & Artistic Director of Mosaic. “Theater and music have long played important roles in healing and community building. Supporting young people to use their art as a platform to share stories about this important issue and bring people together is truly a privilege.”

A panel of judges from local and national theaters selected the finalists based on three key elements: uniqueness and honesty of the story when the story resonated with more than one person, and the author had a unique perspective on the story they were telling.

In addition to the opportunity to work with a mentor coach, all ten finalists received $500.

The finalists were matched with a director to meet via Zoom and share their vision and ideas. Scripts and compositions are then handed over to the director, who then relays the vision to the cast and creative team.

The original screenwriters and composers will see their play for the first time during production at DIA. Each production is around 10 to 15 pages, which takes around 12 minutes, and no composition is longer than three minutes.

The New Voices: Detroit program was created to provide young artists with an opportunity to explore creative paths in theater other than acting.

“Students really enjoy the creative process of building on ideas and sharing stories,” Strawder said. “There aren’t many programs in Southeast Michigan to learn about the art of playwriting and music composition. We wanted to help create that access for young people in our community.”

This is Mosaic Youth Theater’s first return to DIA since December 2019. Tickets and reservations can be made on their website.

Justin W., an 11th grade playwright at Rochester High School, is a finalist in this year’s Mosaic Youth Theater New Voices: Detroit competition. (Photo by Craigen Oster)

This year’s New Voices: Detroit winners include:

• Ahlam K, Copywriter, Grade 11, Detroit International Academy for Young Women

• Celia H., playwright, grade 11, Michigan Virtual Charter Academy

• Carrington P., playwright, 10th grade, Detroit Edison Early College of Excellence

• Dania M., 11th grade copywriter, Detroit International Academy for Young Women

• Jordan P., playwright, 12th grade, Detroit Edison Early College of Excellence

• Justin W., playwright, 11th grade, Rochester High School

• Nadia J., playwright, 11th grade, Southfield Christian School

• Nya W., playwright, 8th grade, Bates Academy

• Olivia J., 11th grade copywriter, Detroit International Academy for Young Women

• Skylar T., playwright, 10th grade, Cass Technical High School

Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit offers various programs for all ages, including a College Career Pathways program that shares scholarship opportunities and internships in different career paths to support students’ further education in the arts and theater. For more information about the Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit, visit mosaikdetroit.org

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