Students Partner with Flat Rock Playhouse for 24-Hour Playwriting Festival

Teachers at Flat Rock Playhouse

Theater students from four high schools gathered at the Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown on Friday night with no idea what they’d be performing on that very stage the next day – but the show would most definitely go on.

For the fourth consecutive year, students from Hendersonville, North Henderson, West Henderson and East Henderson high schools burned the midnight oil with mentors from Flat Rock Playhouse and Studio 52 writing original scripts, to be performed for the public the following evening.

As in years past, the 24 Hour Playwriting Festival kicked off at 5 p.m. with an introduction of the mentors: Flat Rock Playhouse’s Artistic Director Lisa Bryant, Director of Marketing & Communications Dane Whitlock, Resident Scenic Artist Dennis Maulden, and Studio 52 Acting Teacher Olivia Palmer.

Once the groups found out who their writing mentors were, they picked strips of paper out of an envelope with plot elements that had to be incorporated into the four scripts – cliché and Hendersonville location.

The four different cliché’s consisted of, “It’s the thought that counts,” “Don’t get your knickers in a twist,” “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings,” and “It takes one to know one.”

Like the cliché’s the various locations in Hendersonville were brainstormed by the students before being tossed into the envelope, and were: Piggy’s, Laurel Park Police Department, the National Guard Armory, and Fish & Pets.

“Most of your costumes exist inside your closet,” but any extraneous items will be brought from the Flat Rock Playhouse props and costume shop, said Hendersonville High theatre teacher Todd Weakly.

At 6 p.m., the four groups split and headed off to work with their mentors at the Flat Rock Playhouse mainstage, where they wrote, edited and finalized their scripts until 11 p.m.

Before they broke, Weakly instructed students that the next morning at 9 a.m. sharp, they were all to meet at Hendersonville High to rehearse until noon.

“You get one hour in this space for tech,” Weakley said, indicating the Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown.

Every hour on the hour, beginning at noon Saturday, each group would have one hour to run through their lighting, tech and blocking.

“Then you have time to panic,” until the four performances begin at 7 p.m., Weakley joked.

The performances are free to the public, though donations will be accepted.

– By Molly McGowan Gorsuch
Public Information Officer

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