Regional Winner Tells Us Why Young Playwrights for Change is Important to Her : UNHEARD VOICES MAKING A DIFFERENCE

A Regional Winner Tells Us Why Young Playwrights for Change is Important to Her



We asked some of our regional winners to share a little bit about their experience and why the Young Playwrights for Change project was important to them. Here is what our brilliant regional winner from Hawaii had to say:


CLAIRE EDWARDS- Regional Winner in Hawaii

“Originally I began my play as a means to get some experience in the parts of theatre outside of what happens onstage.  However, throughout the writing process I found myself writing it more because I really believed that I could make a difference with my work.  It became less of a personal thing and more about the message behind the dialogue.  The original concept for The Math Behind Amusement Parks was really a spur of the moment thing. I had run through a whole bunch of different ideas but none of them seemed quite right.  I had been focusing on the type of bullying that most people think of, physical bullying in a school setting.  But then I remembered that sometimes it’s more subtle and bullying can almost be considered hereditary.  That’s when The Math Behind Amusement Parks came into being.

The most exciting pert of the writing process was probably the moment when the play really began to take shape and the characters began to fully come into being.  There’s something infinitely rewarding about reading something that was completely created and written by you.  Especially when it’s about such an important issue.  I had never written a play before so the entire process was extremely rewarding and very fun.  Winning the regional contest really opened my eyes to how fulfilling the world of play crafting can really be and it showed me how much I enjoy it.  I’ll definitely continue writing in the future.

When the next students enter the only advice I can give is have fun.  It’s so important that you enjoy your play and feel proud of what you have created.  Don’t second guess it, just write about something that you’re passionate about (within the theme of the contest of course) and create dynamic characters that people want to like and can relate to. “




Grade: I am currently in 9th grade, although at the time of the competition I was an 8th grader.

Hobbies: I enjoy theatre, horseback riding, reading, and of course, writing.

Favorite Class: My favorite class is Drama.  (Followed by English in a close second)

Favorite Writer: I find it incredibly difficult to narrow my list of favorite writers down to a few.  If I had to go based upon my own enjoyment of their work I’d have to say Eoin Colfer, Christopher Paolini, and Cassandra Clare (what can I say? I’m a sucker for romance novels)

Influences: My biggest influence was Mr. Saint John.  He’s the one who suggested the Playwrights For A Change competition to me and his writing was always something I enjoyed reading.  I was hoping to eventually be able to write like him.

The Future: I haven’t really thought too much about the future.  I think I would like to continue in theatre some way and perhaps from an acting perspective be able to be in a large show for the experience.  But I think I’d like to be a teacher of some sort as well.  (Drama teacher, perhaps?)


Mr. Saint John, in Hawaii, had this to say about why the Young Playwrights for Change project was important to him and his community:

“Anyone who teaches middle school knows that those are the students who are the most maligned, the most underestimated, and the most surprising when they are given a chance to speak out. The Playwrights for Change competition brings the craft of play writing to those unheard voices. We know that there are talented students out there–kids with a powerful gift for dialogue because they’ve spent a lifetime listening–but who have never tried to write a play. This a contest that matters, for people who have something to say. Everyone in middle school should try it, if for no other reason than to find out if they, too, have an inner demon waiting to speak, with the voice to do it well.” – Robert St. John – Hawaii


So if you haven’t signed up to be a regional host, do it now! The deadline is October 1st. Click here to register:


We would like to give a big thank your to Claire for her inspiring words. We would also like to give a big thank you to Robert St. John for his involvement and dedication to this project. Finally we would like to thank the Honolulu Theater for Youth and Daniel Kelin for being the host organization for this project. Learn more about the awesome work being done by Robert St. John and Honolulu Theater for Youth below.


Questions? Comment on this post or for more history on the Young Playwrights for Change project and how it was sparked by the Dramatic Change initiative check out this link:, or just search Young Playwrights for Change on our blog.


Honolulu Theatre for Youth

Inspiring our communities to dream and dare

Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY) produces professional theatre and drama education programs that make a difference in the lives of young people, families and educators in the state of Hawai‘i. Founded in 1955, HTY is one of the oldest and most respected children’s theatres in the country. HTY has served over five million people through school and family performances and drama education programs. Over 300 new plays for young audiences have been commissioned by HTY. HTY believes that drama education and theatre are unique, socially-based education and art forms that help their participants and audiences walk in the shoes of others, allowing them to expand their imaginations, enrich their lives and discover the infinite possibilities in the world. HTY works towards a future for Hawai‘i in which people are culturally literate and imaginative, are critical thinkers and inventive problem solvers, with a respect for history and a sense of place in a complex world.





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