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Arts & Culture

Touchstone's Young Playwrights' Festival showcases the work of Bethlehem elementary and middle schoolers

Touchstone Theatre
Touchstone Theatre's Young Playwrights' Lab returns to the stage on Sunday. Pictured is the cast from the 2023 production of 'Aquil and Paisley Lost Their Pet Jellybean” by Zinay Marie Crespo.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Elementary and middle school students will soon present scripts they've written for the first time to an audience.

Touchstone Theatre's Young Playwrights' Festival highlights the works of students from Casa Guadalupe, Donegan, Farmersville, Fountain Hill, Freemansburg, Governor Wolf, James Buchanan, Lincoln, Marvine, Spring Garden elementary schools, and Nitschmann Middle School.

The showcase of short plays written by local elementary and middle school students takes place in Northeast Middle School at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 19.

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Touchstone Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival will take place on Sunday, May 19. Pictured are the students from last year's festival.

Young Playwrights' winners

The festival, now in its 19th year, is part of Touchstone's Young Playwrights’ Lab.

The eight-week arts and literacy residency teaches theater tools that provide a base for creative self-expression and nurtures students' attitudes toward writing.

Chosen from 134 submissions, this year's finalists are Adalee Amann ("The Desperate Kitty), Valentina Navarro ("The Pirate Hunt"), Brielle Dennis ("The Creature Troubles") and Allison Coyle ("Tad Tales").

During the course, each playwright was required to write an original one-act play to be considered for performance in the festival.

"The combination of the kids' imaginations and Touchstone's own creates a one-of-a-kind evening of theatre. We invite everyone to celebrate with us the whimsy, wit, and wisdom of our youth,” Mary Wright, Touchstone's Education Director, said

"The [festival] gives the Lehigh Valley a rare opportunity: the chance to look deep into the hearts and minds of our youngest artists."

Semi-finalists, runners-up

The festival's semi-finalists and runners-up will also present their plays during the show.

Semi-finalists are Martina Moreno ("Best Birthday Ever!) and Mac Parker ("The Magical Pencil).

Runners-up are Jadiel Moronata-Pena ("The Nurse), Jaslene Martinez ("The Zig-Zag Star Adventure), Anna Stewart ("Cooked!"), "Elianna Benetiz and Luna Rivas ("The Eclipse"), Emi Monger ("Teresa and Poppy) and Vincent David Hernandez ("The Crazy Craziest West").

Joining the cast as characters onstage will be Bethlehem Mayor J. Willie Reynolds and local folk singer, Dave Fry.

Festival tickets are $15.

Advance tickets may be purchased at 610-867-1689 or online at touchstone.org.