VSA, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, announces the winners of the 2017 VSA Playwright Discovery Competition. Seven high school playwrights, which include Dana Langston from Pensacola, are invited to participate in a weekend of pre-professional activities at the Kennedy Center during the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, April 16–22.
Dana Langston (“Silent Thank Yous”), age 17, hails from Pensacola, Florida. She is a senior at West Florida High School of Advanced Technology. She has severe depression and anxiety, which inspires much of her work. She is a published author, as well as the founder of Defective Dynamic, an organization that helps those with mental illness. She will be attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago after high school.
The young playwrights will engage with seasoned professional playwrights, directors, and actors to refine their scripts and further develop their playwriting skills. Excerpts from selected scripts will be performed as part of the weekend’s activities.
The VSA Playwright Discovery Competition is an annual competition that invites middle and high school students with disabilities to examine the disability experience and express their views through the art of scriptwriting. The program was begun in 1984 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, and has continued annually since. This year’s recipients were chosen from more than 67 applications from across the U.S.