PLAYWRIGHT MENTORING PROJECT

Celebrating 20 years!

It’s Your Life.

Your Story.

Your Art.

YOUR project.

Are you looking for somewhere to be yourself, to express what’s going on in your life, to be heard?

Barrington Stage Company’s Playwright Mentoring Project (PMP) is a theatre program for young people ages 13–19 who have stories to share and things to say. Groups meet once a week from October–April. No prior theatre experience is required! Together your group will create and perform an original play based on stories and experiences from your own lives. A stipend will be paid to those who participate. Groups begin meeting October 1, 2019 and run through April 2020.

For more information:
Call Jane O’Leary at 413-997-6117 or email Education@BarringtonStageCo.org

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“It’s nice to be in such a supportive atmosphere where I don’t have to be afraid to say what I think or feel… to be somewhere where I can just be honest and be who I am.” —Samantha, PMP participant 

In 2007, Barrington Stage Company’s Playwright Mentoring Project received the national Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. This is the nation’s highest honor for after-school and out-of-school programs in the arts and humanities.

Watch the PMP Coming Up Taller Video.

Mission

PMP is an intensive, six-month, out-of-school activity that uses theatre as a catalyst to help under-served youth learn valuable life skills that will aid them in developing positive self-images. Over the course of the program, teens are enabled to create an original performance piece based on their own stories in a safe and confidential environment where they can express themselves, develop conflict/resolution skills and, together, create a supportive community.

Participants

PMP participants range in age from 13–19. Many live in foster homes, single-parent families or families struggling to support themselves financially. These teens are frequently struggling with issues such as bullying, substance abuse, foster care, unconventional family structures, violence, pregnancy, sexuality, self-injury, eating disorders, date rape, racism and acculturation, as well as many of the other challenges that youth face during the difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Program Structure

Beginning in October, PMP groups meet once a week after school for a two-hour session as the artistic team guides the participants through a series of trust exercises, improvisations, storytelling and conflict resolution workshops. The sessions culminate in April with a performance piece conceived, written and performed by the participants at local high schools, community centers and Barrington Stage Company’s St. Germain Stage.

The Playwright Mentoring Project gives teenagers a safe place to talk about serious issues in their daily lives — issues at home, in school, at work, with friends — all of it kept in the strictest confidence. Through rigorous theatre instruction, participants learn the fundamentals of theatre games and improvisation from experienced mentors. Theatre is used as a means of self-exploration and self-expression. A typical Playwright Mentoring Project session includes:

  • A check-in where each participant shares experiences from the past week
  • Physical and vocal acting warm-ups
  • Theatre games and trust exercises
  • Improvisation of serious issues/discussion topics introduced by the participants
  • Development of a script with a professional playwright
  • Rehearsal of the script created by students

PMP Staff

Participants are led and supported by the following staff throughout the course of the seven-month intensive program:

Artistic Mentor: The project leader who guides the group through its emotional journey, steering the storytelling and improvisations towards a finished, performable product.

Peer Mentors: Two young adults slightly older than the participants who have experienced the same issues as the participants and have succeeded in finding positive solutions to those issues. Peer mentors share stories, participate in all activities and perform with participants in the final production.

Professional Playwright: An advisor to the participants in the artistic process of developing a play, the playwright collaborates with the mentors and participants to bring the teen’s ideas together in dramatic form.

Mental Health Counselor: A professional therapist who occasionally assists in addressing the more serious and complex issues that come up in group discussion, acting as an on-hand resource to participants interested in accessing outside counseling.

Outcomes

PMP gives participants focus and discipline that is often missing in their day-to-day lives while teaching them to develop solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems. Conflict resolution skills introduced and reinforced by the program empower participants to make positive long-term life choices and act as leaders among their peers.

For more information about the Playwright Mentoring Project contact Jane O’Leary, Director of Education, at 413-997-6117 or Education@BarringtonStageCo.org.

Support

Our deepest appreciation to the following for major support of The Playwright Mentoring Project:

$50,000+
Mill Town
Zelda and John Schwebel Family Foundation

$25,000 – $49,999
Feigenbaum Foundation
Greylock Federal Credit Union
Leon Lowenstein Foundation

$10,000 – $24,999
Avangrid Foundation, Inc.
Berkshire Bank Foundation
Berkshire United Way
C.F. Adams Charitable Trust
Kathleen and Neil Chrisman
Nicole Licata Grant
Joan and Jim Hunter
InterAct for Change
Massachusetts Cultural Council (Youthreach)
Mary Ann and Bruno Quinson

$5,000 – $9,999
A Better Community Clothing Sale
Sydelle and Lee Blatt
Carole and Daniel Burack
Deb and King Francis
Judith and Richard Jacobs
The Ruth Krauss Foundation
TD Charitable Foundation

$2,500 – $4,999
Nardyne and Richard Cattani
Marita and David Glodt
Sherwood Guernsey
Leslie and Stephen Jerome
Linda and Kenneth Keyes
Arnold Kotlen and Stephanie Fleckner
William and Shirley Lehman
Debra Miersma and David Russell
Lawrence and Bette Sue Rosenthal
Debra Jo Rupp
Richard and Stephanie Solar
Cheryl and Michael Zaccaro

$1,000 – $2,499
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright
Glenna and Martin Bloom
John Capizzi and Glenn Riddell
Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire
Renee and Steven Finn
Audrey and Ralph Friedner
Wendy and Peter Gordon
Renee Gross
Christopher Innvar
Malinka and Kenneth Jackson
Julia Kaplan
Sara Koffman
Liz and George Krupp
Dale and Steve Kulvin
John and Ruth Littlechild
Barbara and Kenneth Mahler
Jane Iredale and Robert Montgomery
Marian and Marshall Raser
Sheila and Harold Richman
Joan and Michael Salke
Rosita Sarnoff and Beth Sapery
Marcia and Albert Schmier
A.J. Schnopp Jr. Construction Inc.
Carol and Richard Seltzer
Arlene and Donald Shapiro
Rosalyn and Charles Stuzin
John A. and Kathi Blatt Thonet
Jessie Wolfson
Ray Ellen and Allan Yarkin
Robert and Karen Youdelman

$500 – $999
Hildi and Walter Black
Elaine and Mark W. Cancilla
Mark H. Dold and Edgar McIntosh
Violet and Chris Eagan
Reba and Bruce Evenchik
Kathleen and Albert Jaffe
Jackie and Dr. Malcolm Mazow
Pittsfield Cultural Council
Raquel and Michael Scheck
Laurie and Martin V. Schwartz
Karen Schnopp and Bill Drosehn
Sheri Sendzischew and Bruce Rubin
Robert and Jacqueline Spielman
Pamela and Richard Stebbins
Joshua and Martine Taylor

$100 – $499
Andre and Jennie Bernard
Hinda and Bill Bodinger
Susan and Joel Cartun
Terry and Melvin Drucker
Nancy Feldman and Mike Chefetz
Nina and Peter Garlington
Miriam and Ronald Hinds
Kay and Frederick Joseph
Robert La Fosse
Irving Marks and Alice Nathan
Roberta McCulloch-Dews and Warren Dews, Jr.
Scott and Debra Pinkney
Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Bert Pogrebin
Diane and Arthur Provenz
Jessica Provenz
Tricia and Jeff Rosen
Elaine and Anthony Saab
Elise Saab
Charlie Siedenburg
Maureen Spollen
Mark St. Germain
Jonathan Swartz
David Topchik
Phyllis Topchik
Judith Wilkinson and Lionel Delevingne

**This list acknowledges donors who have given annual support to PMP since January 2018.