“New short plays by kids celebrate the 100th birthday of National Parks”

(Providence, RI) The Manton Avenue Project (MAP) will stage its next performance: May 5-8th. Performances will take place at 7pm on Thursday and Friday, and 2pm on Saturday and Sunday, in the Blackbox at AS220 on Empire Street downtown. There will be a talkback following the Sunday performance. The Manton Avenue Project (MAP) is a non-profit organization that unites children living in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood with local theater professionals to create original plays together.  The Manton Avenue Project’s mission is to nurture the unique potential of kids living in Olneyville through playmaking.  Each of MAP’s out-of-school time programs is focused on playwriting education, mentorship, and bringing kids’ creative voices to the stage.

Happy Birthday, Old Faithful: The National Park Plays is the culminating production of The Manton Avenue Project’s Playmaking program, an afterschool playwriting course held at MAP’s Clubhouse in Olneyville. Ten young playwrights, 3rd graders and 4th graders, have each written a play about a National Park.  For this project, The Manton Avenue Project partnered with the Roger Williams National Memorial. The playwrights have been learning about National Parks and the history of the National Park Service. Each playwright is writing a short play set in one of the United States’ 410 parks. The resulting production will be directed and performed by local actors from Providence’s thriving theatrical community.

“The Manton Avenue Project is proud to present Happy Birthday, Old Faithful! This production will be a culmination of an enriching afterschool class for first time playwrights, who explored characters through monologues and dialogues, and learned about the exciting history of the National Park Service through meetings with real National Park Rangers,” says Executive Artistic Director Meg Sullivan. “Each playwright chose a National Park and then set their very own ten-minute play there. The plays are about friendship, solving problems, and coming together in the beautiful places our National Parks offer. Our goal is to show young people in Olneyville the value of their voices and, through our ongoing and tuition-free playwriting programs, help them reach their full potential as creative thinkers and community leaders.”

This is the third production of The Manton Avenue Project’s 2015-2016 season, which is supported by grants from The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Andrade Faxon Charities for Children, Ocean State Charities Trust, June Rockwell Levy Foundation, a Senate Legislative Grant from the State of Rhode Island, Providence Rotary Charities Foundation, as well as many other individual donors.

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