New York City, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/21/2013 -- Three weeks in Auckland, New Zealand. More than a hundred play writing professionals. One spectacular theater summit. These are just some of the things this year's iPWFX 2012 finalists experienced as a result of their change-inspiring plays. Of course, not everybody who writes a play pushing for positive change are given these opportunities, but only eight finalists were chosen from 1,217 play submissions representing over seventeen different countries and forty eight states in the US.
Sponsored by iWright Foundation, the iPWFX International Playwright Challenge aims to encourage the younger generation to write for positive change and understand the power of pen and paper. Every year iWright Foundation chooses a prompt, usually regarding a current issue, and play submissions must address that prompt. In 2012, high school and college students ranging from age fourteen to twenty five were asked to write a two-act with religion playing a major role. According to the foundation, some students wrote about being homosexual in a strict religious family, living as a oppressed woman in theocracies, and finding one's own religion separate from everything that the church preaches.
After three rounds of elimination, the finalists were chosen and they were brought on an all-expense paid trip to the International Playwright Summit where they produced one act of their play and competed to be the winner. Prior to 2012, the playwright summit had been in NYC, but this year, iWright Foundation hoped to inspire more international participation by moving it to New Zealand. Some have said that this change in location is a step back in the development of the competition. The foundation refuses to respond to the comment.
The finalists produce one act of their play with a team of professionals and a director, and many believe that the students' experience turning their play into an actual production with people in the industry is the most valuable part of the competition process. Once one act has been staged, it is performed in front of a panel of twenty judges who evaluate the play based on its accuracy/appropriateness, potential for impact, the message itself, and whether they feel connected or "moved" by the production. A winner is then chosen who is given a $25,000 scholarship.
There have been rumors circulating around that the 2013 prompt will be about gun control, and many young writers have began drafting plays with that topic in mind. Even though the 2012 challenge has just ended, it seems like everybody's already all excited for everything the 2013 challenge has in store!
*Update: It turns out that the iPWFX International Playwright Challenge had its first ever high school student finalist this year. This young man by the name of David Liu is a senior at Arcadia High School, and he has been an active member of his school's drama department for all four years of his high school career.
**Update: The winner of this year's iPWFX International Playwright Challenge is -- Freesia Sanchez!!
For more information about the competition or the foundation, visit http://iwrightfoundation.com.
About iPWFX International Playwright Challenge
The iPWFX International Playwright Challenge is a major competition sponsored by the iWright Foundation which aims to promote writing for change through plays and theater.
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