Now in its 16th year, the Alley Theatre’s program to recognize, encourage and develop young playwrights is in full swing with a reading of all six plays written by this year’s selected students, scheduled for the first weekend in August. For Houston Young Playwrights Exchange (HYPE) 2012 Staged Readings, high-schoolers get practical advice, a chance to rework their plays and a mentor who’ll help keep them going. Well-known playwright Alvaro Saar Rios, who’s now based in Minneapolis but graduated from the University of Houston, comes in at several crucial points in the process. Students submit ten-minute plays throughout the year, each evaluated by three different readers.
“We used to be thrilled at 40 plays,” said Joe Angel Babb, director of education and community engagement for the Alley. “We hit a high mark this year of 174 plays. I didn’t think we could do it.” But, of course, they did. Babb said the Alley emphasizes to students that they retain ownership of their plays, which can be starting points for longer works or can be presented as is. “There are a lot of ten-minute-play competitions all over the country,” he said. HYPE alumni have submitted and even won, he said. “It’s potent,” he added, when other students come to the readings and see what their peers are capable of and “see that people are taking them seriously.”
Fri., Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 4, 2 & 7:30 p.m., 2012