Every year, students from around central Ohio open a new file on Google Docs, brainstorm, and begin to write. By November 17, all viable submissions will have been sent to MadLab, one of Columbus’s blackbox theaters.
The Young Writers Short Play Festival is an annual event held by MadLab in an effort to connect high schoolers with real-world experience in the theater business. The rules are simple: any high school student may submit a 10-page play, completely original content, formatted with a title page, character descriptions, and set and prop needs.
Entering the 9th consecutive year of the program, MadLab is more popular than ever. Many Academy students have either submitted and produced plays through the program or have worked as actors during its festival. Students whose plays are accepted into the festival work with mentors on their show and end out the festival as a playwright. This year’s festival takes place from July 10-25, 2020.
Sanskruti Admane’20 participated in MadLab in the 2018 festival. She co-wrote “All We Need is Warmth,” a story about a refugee camp in Nepal, alongside Chandra Bista, and worked with Academy teacher and musical director, Stefan Farrenkopf. Speaking of the experience, Admane had only good things to say about the community in MadLab.
“There were times when I had a whole lot of schoolwork and play editing to do-and I would wonder if I had gotten myself into too much, but the performance on opening night and everyone’s genuine congratulations inspired me to keep trying new things and do what I love.”
Adding on, she said, “I loved the whole experience. I honestly could talk about it forever.”