Pagosa Springs youth to get a taste of professional playwright life

Photo courtesy Thingamajig Theatre Company
From left to right, Allora Leonard, Chance Hurt and SImon Mitchell will be participating in the Youth Playwrights Festival as a part of the Playwrights Festival with Thingamajig Theatre at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. The Youth Playwrights Festival will be on Oct. 22.

By Tess Wisher
Special to The PREVIEW
On Oct. 22, three young Pagosa Springs playwrights will be joining the Thingamajig Theatre Company as a part of the Youth Playwrights Festival.
There these three bright minds will have their new plays workshopped by a team of professional theater artists and then presented in a free event at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.
Chance Hurt, Allora Leonard and Simon Mitchell will each participate in the festival with their own original plays.
Hurt, a sixth-grader at Pagosa Springs Middle School, has been acting in the Whatchamawhozits Theatre classes and camps since 2015. During that time, he has been in six plays. Hurt has an impressive imagination and puts that brain to work while playing with LEGOs and writing stories. His play, “The Gang War of Chicago,” is his first attempt at writing a play, but we suspect it won’t be his last. Based in 1958, “The Gang War of Chicago” tells the story of Officer David and his squad of brave police officers who spend a month battling.
Leonard comes to the festival with her play “The Adventures of Pagosa Pete and Jelly Bean.” Leonard has also participated in the Whatchamawhozits Theatre camps and played Miss Hannigan in “Annie Jr.” this past summer. She was also a featured soloist in “Children of Eden” with Curtains Up. “The Adventure of Pagosa Pete and Jelly Bean” is Leonard’s second piece of writing. The play focuses on a cowboy named Pagosa Pete who roams the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his trusty steed, Jelly Bean, saving friends along the way.
Mitchell is a junior at Pagosa Springs High School and absolutely adores the stage, whether he’s writing or acting. “One in Six” is his first play. He was inspired to write his first play after spending the past two summers at Interlochen Arts Camp in northwest Michigan. “One in Six” tells the story of Arlo Mac, who has been holed up in his room for months after a seemingly innocent fling with a popular boy, Matt. In the midst of confrontations and inner battles, Arlo has to find his way to step outside again.
Melissa Firlit, festival artistic director, is incredibly excited for the Youth Playwright Festival. “The biggest thing about theater is the collaboration, and I believe in paying it forward. So, to me, it’s very important that we connect with our youth and help them hone the stories they want to tell and hear the stories they are interested in telling. The great thing about the three plays that have been chosen for the festival is that each one of them is a different style from the other piece and asks something different of the audience.”
If you’re interested in seeing these stories come to life, join us on Oct. 22. Reservations are not necessary. Admission is free. For more information, visit us at pagosacenter.org or call 731-SHOW (7469).

This story was posted on October 12, 2018.