The 5th Annual Young Writers Program

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This Monday, October 4th, we launched the 5th annual Montblanc Young Writers Program in partnership with HBO. It has become a staple of our year and a much sought after advancement opportunity for our alumni.

This year, 6 alumni of the Urban Arts playwriting programs competed for a coveted writing spot at The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway. They were Maxine Batchler (a Junior at Smith, majoring in East Asian studies and linguistics), Audasia Glenn (studied playwriting at HB Studios and currently working on a television pilot), Anuradha Golder (a Senior at Barnard studying playwriting, and just came back from a semester abroad in London!), Emmanuel Minaya (Senior at Bronx Community College studying writing, and Program Coordinator at UAP), Sarwat Siddiqui (a Sophomore studying Neuroscience and writing at Fordham University), and Adrian Salvador (a senior at New Design High School and Life Stories theater and playwriting student).

The group convened on Sunday for a master-class with award winning playwright and New Dramatist member, Christina Anderson. She shared lessons from the field and tools on short form playwriting. Over the following 8 hours, they each wrote an original short play and received feedback on their scripts from playwright Zac Kline and mentors Anna Strout and Frank Turiano.

On Monday, Sherri Barber, Ari Edelson and Laurie Weltz directed our wonderful Artistic Board (Diane Neal, Tracie Thoms, Ramon Rodriguez), Bryan Terrell Clark (our musical guest on Broadway this year!), our performing arts faculty (Kaya Chwals, Juan Manzo and Michael Wiggins) our alumni (Devin Mojica, Elizabeth Cruz Cortes, OJ Akinwande, Haskiri Velazquez and double threat-Manny Minaya who also wrote one of the plays) and current Life Stories student (Maddie De Jesus) in staged readings of the plays.

Our esteemed judges (Mark Armstrong, Jay Austin, Lindsey Cashman, Philip Courtney, Abby Drucker, Susan Ellis, Lisa Harbert, Rosie Perez, Iesha Reed, Jot Sandu and Marvin Scott) ranked the plays based on intriguing premise, structural elements, character development and audience engagement.

Sarwat Siddiqui’s short play “ilocked” featuring Philip Courtney (CEO of Urban Arts Partnership), Tracie Thoms (Lost Lake), Bryan Terrell Clack (Motown) and two Urban Arts Partnership Academy theater alumni-Haskiri Velazquez and Oladimeji Akinwande, directed by Sherri Barber,  won the 5th annual Montblanc Young Writers Program! She will go on to write, with Christina Anderson as her mentor, for the 14 the annual The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway this November 16-17.

Congratulations Sarwat!