1.) Playmaking class, 3rd grade
For first-time playwrights. After learning playwriting basics, each child is teamed with an adult director/dramaturge and two adult actors. At a special Playwriting Weekend (See playwriting weekend section below), they write a short play specifically for their actors. The plays are performed for a weekend in a local Providence theater space (see production section below) . The shows are open to the general public and tickets are free.
2.) Play-It-Again class, 4th grade
This time, in addition to teaming each with a dramaturge/director-and-two-actors trio, we ask the children to introduce a third, “cameo” character into each of the plays. A single adult actor plays all of the cameo roles.
3.) Tag Team class, 5th grade
Children brainstorm together as teams. At the Playwriting Weekend, they collaborate to write a full-length play. To keep things especially interesting, every time the scene changes, the actors playing the three characters change as well.
4.) Dialogue Class, 6th-8th grades
Each child partners with an adult actor. The two ultimately co-star in a play based on a storyline developed by the younger playwright that they write together. The added twist: neither knows which of them will be playing which character until after the play is completed!
Fun Fridays, 4th-7th grades
Each Friday after-school we welcome guest artists to lead workshops in various theatrical and artistic genres, from puppetry to improv, from hip-hop to sonnet-writing. Our Fun Friday students works with Clubhouse Instructor Moira Costigan-Carraher to create a supportive, enriching community.
Teen Voices, 7th-12th grades
Our newest program invites MAP playwrights who have completed our five playwriting programs and are in their teens to work with our Teen Voices Director, Nicole Maynard, devising original plays through improvisation and writing, and taking field trips to see local theatre.
Our teens also often can be found running the sound/light boards, or backstage, during our play festivals.
55 Putnam Street, Providence RI: Our very own space – classroom, rehearsal studio, media lab and office.
Since its inception The Manton Avenue Project has been lucky enough to receive free-of-charge space for our playmaking classes, Playwriting Weekends and performances thanks to the William D’Abate School and Moses Brown. But we have longed for a home of our own, a place that would not only house our offices and classroom, but give the MAP Kids a place that they could come to throughout the year after school to work on their plays or their homework, and play and learn from guest artists.
In 2013, thanks to the generosity and vision of Olneyville Housing Corporation, The Manton Avenue Project moved into the MAP Clubhouse, a beautifully renovated corner storefront space in a previously abandoned building. Now we’re able to fill the space with energy and activity, and give MAP students their very own creative space right in their neighborhood.
These are intensive playwriting retreats that take place off site, often at Moses Brown School who donates use of their classrooms, as the culmination of each of our playwriting classes. During these weekends, each playwright is matched with her or his very own dramaturgy mentor (playwriting advisor who often also serves as the director of the play) who assists the playwright through the process of completing a short play around the theme introduced in the class. At the end of each day, playwrights share their work and hear feedback from their classmates.
For our summer Dialogue class, playwriting weekend takes place during a four day retreat to Camp Ogontz in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, where the young people and their “grown-up” partners work together to write a two person play, which they will both perform later in the month in Providence. Camp Ogontz’s bucolic setting offers a new perspective for writing, and lots of time for relaxation and play – canoeing, swimming, and hiking in the woods are daily activities.
Productions take place in local theatre spaces with the generous support and talents of volunteer artists as actors, designers and directors.
Each production is a play festival of original short works written by young playwrights. At our shows the young auteur is highlighted and recognized by sitting at the “Playwright’s Desk” on stage as s/he may watches the play.
We use foam core props and minimal scenic elements to put the focus on the words and ideas of each playwright. And the foam core allows us to make anything possible!
Rehearsals for the productions take place at our Clubhouse, and playwrights are invited to attend, to make changes to their scripts, or give feedback to the actors and director.