Festival showcases plays written by Yale and Co-op students

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Undergraduates write their own plays while leading after-school workshops for young playwrights at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School. (Photo by Samantha Contis for the Yale Co-Op Partnership)

Yale School of Drama actors will read nine original plays written by Yale undergraduates and students from New Haven’s Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School (Co-Op) at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1 and 2, at Yale Cabaret, 217 Park St. The event is free and open to the public.

Students from Yale School of Drama, Yale College, and Co-Op High School developed the plays as part of the University’s O’Neill Playwriting Program.

The O’Neill program brings Yale School of Drama playwrights and Yale College students into theater and creative writing classes at Co-Op High School throughout the spring semester to lead playwriting sessions. In May, Co-Op students and teachers and the Yale mentors attend a weekend retreat at the Tony Award-winning Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut. During the retreat, the group participates in an intensive playwriting program, developed by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, the Eugene O’Neill Professor (Adjunct) of Playwriting at Yale School of Drama.

The playwrights and mentors attend a weekend retreat at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford. (Photo by Ethan Kuperberg for the Yale Co-Op Partnership)

The following fall, Yale undergraduate mentors simultaneously write their own pieces, while leading after-school workshops at the high school to refine the plays written by the Co-Op students. In February, Yale School of Drama actors read the final productions developed by the Yale undergraduates and the high school students at “The Annual Festival of New Work,” a formal, staged performance held at Yale Cabaret.

The O’Neill Playwriting Program, sponsored by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, began as a stand-alone playwriting program in 2006. It now stands as a strong cornerstone of the partnership between Yale University and Co-Op High School, offering an array of related programs and opportunities for the high school students.

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