Bartol Grantee Spotlight: Philadelphia Young Playwrights
As part of an ongoing Q&A series, we will be getting to know the Bartol Foundation’s 2018 grantees. Since 1987, Philadelphia Young Playwrights (PYP) has partnered with educators to bring the transformative power of playwriting into classrooms and community settings across Greater Philadelphia. They received a $5,000 Bartol grant to support their core program of in-classroom playwriting residencies.
These questions were answered by several PYP staff members.
What revs you up to go to work in the morning?
Knowing the impact this work has on young people, who much like me, needed something different to help them achieve.
What is the coolest thing a participant in your program ever said to you?
At the end of Summer Playwrights Community—an advanced playwriting workshop here at PYP—a student shared, “Thanks for helping me realize what I want to do with my life.” Last year another said, “Resident Playwrights saved my life.” Our students like to make me cry.
What is the most important thing you do to help your teaching artists do their best work?
Our trainings in trauma-informed practice. Our students often right about really hard-hitting issues, and often personal issues, so we need to look at their pieces from a human lens as well as a dramaturgical lens. Some of our students really dig into the craft and structure of playwriting, but others need to get their narrative down on the page and have it seen, heard, and affirmed. It’s critical that our teaching artists are able to tell the difference.
What is the best tip you can give to someone doing arts education programs like yours?
Allow the student creator to frame and lead their own feedback process. When the creator begins the feedback session by sharing their goal and the questions they already have, it immediately shifts the mindset of those giving feedback to a place of helping to serve that creator rather than offer forward ideas that match their own interests and aesthetic.
If you could magically change one thing to make your program better, what would it be?
Two teaching artists in every classroom!
Best. Snack. Ever.
Chocolate. Covered. Pretzels.