Apricot Sky Productions partnered with Heritage Middle School in Livingston, NJ for the first annual Apricot Sky Playwrighting Award.
Heritage Middle School students are being encouraged to create original one-act plays by Apricot Sky Productions, a theatre company based in Essex County. It was brainchild of Eric Alter, the company’s founder and playwright, who is collaborating with Heritage Enrichment to present a playwriting contest for middle school students.
“The world is looking for great stories, “ Alter told students who attended an information session on Jan. 21. “What’s your story about?”
He and members of the Apricot Sky company read through submissions, then brought the new play to life on the Heritage stage. "I want to make sure the students, their families and friends get a chance to see the wonderful story the winning student has created on the stage," Alter said. "Anything is possible with theater, it lends itself to the imagination in ways no other art form does.”
No playwriting experience was necessary, and all that is required is a desire and willingness to express yourself. The winning talented writer received a $1,000 cash prize to be used for higher education.
Alter is a screenwriter, playwright and poet. His plays have been performed locally at the Grove Street Theatre in Montclair, New York City and around the world as far as China and New Zealand. He founded his theater company back in 1999 and has been putting on plays ever since. His company puts on original plays, most recently, performing a charity show of one-act plays for the Human Needs Pantry in Montclair. In 2011, Alter wrote and produced an evening of original one-acts dedicated to the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 with donations going to the National September 11th Museum and Memorial. "Giving back to the community is important to who I am and what Apricot Sky is all about." Alter said.
His plays have been also published in magazines and textbooks, including “The Bully of Barksdale Street” in the Glencoe Literature Reading with a Purpose and PLAYS! The Drama Magazine for Young People
Alter, who lives in Livingston, worked in conjunction with Mary Oates, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, and Lenore Argen, Enrichment/Intervention Specialist at Heritage, to make this happen. "I can't thank them enough, especially Mrs. Argen who has been incredibly helpful and excited about this project -- it is really Mrs. Argen who deserves so much credit for this,” he said.
At Heritage, Alter came in and led middle schoolers in class through the basics of playwriting. "The students caught on easily, and were asking some amazing questions and had such great insight. I can't wait to see the stories they come up with," Alter said.
Thw winning pla was performed for all students and staff to see. "Bella Brodsky's play was the best one we read. While all the plays were excellent, hers really stood out", Alter said.