Local Impact, Student News

Bennington Students Mentor Young Playwrights

Ten Bennington College students and alumni mentored regional middle and high school students who wrote and created plays of their own as part of the Dorset Theatre Festival's 6th Annual Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights Competition. 

Photo of Dorset theater

The Dorset Theatre Festival is led by Artistic Director and Bennington College faculty member Dina Janis

Ten Vermont schools participated in this year's workshops, from which 50 plays were submitted to the competition. 

A public reading of this year's winning works will be held on Monday, November 18 at 7:00 pm at the Manchester Public Library. This event is free and open to the public. Seating is general admission, and no ticket is required.

Louis Celt '21, Thomas Finegar '22, Florence Gill '22, Marley-Rose Liburd '22, Jacqueline de Loos '22, Jelena Mijatovic '21, Hadley Pack '22, Isabel Sheehan '21, and Natalie Thomas '21 served as mentors to the students. 

Jessieh Ruth Averitt '13 was this year's visiting playwright. Averitt is a researcher, playwright and theatre artist living and working primarily in Philadelphia, where she established Other Case Notes Ensemble. As a teaching artist, she has worked with arts educators and community arts initiatives to provide consultation to students and their mentors. Prior to moving to Philadelphia, Averitt was a resident of Dorset, VT, after graduating from Bennington College.

Averitt praised the teachers whose classrooms she visited, as well as the students participating in the program. "I was in awe of the work each of the teachers had done with their students, and amazed by the quality of the students' questions, curiosities, and creativity put into practice with words," said Averitt.

Young Playwrights Competition Winners

This year's high school winners are Clarissa Pollard from Stratton Mountain School (faculty mentor: Mary Mangiacotti) and Zoe Grigsby from Burr & Burton Academy (faculty mentor: James Raposa). The winning plays in the middle school category were both co-authored, and the winners are: Addie Dennes & Anna Markcrow, and Kaya Pedersen & Clara Vickers, from Maple Street School (faculty mentor: Conor Welch).