Monday, March 4, 2013

Playwright Doug Cooney joins Conservatory as guest instructor

Staged Reading of Mustardseed
with author Doug Cooney
Tues., Mar. 5
6:30 p.m.
Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center
Free and open to the public

The public is invited to a staged reading of a play by Los Angeles-based playwright and author Doug Cooney.

Cooney is an acclaimed children’s writer whose novels include The Beloved Dearly, I Know Who Likes You and Nobody’s Perfect. He spent last year working as a staff writer for Disney Junior's new animated series, Sofia the First.

Cooney will be a guest instructor for some of our outreach programs and Patel Conservatory theater classes, including the Theater for Young Audiences (TYA) group.

TYA is a program for pre-professional and professional young actors that teaches the art of children’s theater.

Throughout the year, the TYA students have been writing their own material and learning acting techniques for elementary audiences. The program will culminate in performances of their original stage work for elementary and middle school audiences in Hillsborough County.

“When you’re writing for young people, you really have to know your of the challenges for today’s generation is that they’re inundated with technology and digital media, which can deprive them of critical thinking skills and the opportunity to engage in nature,” said Cooney.

Cooney tackles this and other challenges of writing for young audiences this week as he shares his expertise and works with the TYA students on their play-in-progress.

Cooney’s plays and musicals have been commissioned, produced and toured by the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Institute, Mark Taper Forum, and South Coast Rep.

The TYA students will perform in the staged reading of Cooney’s play Mustardseed on Tues., Mar. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in TECO Theater at the Patel Conservatory.

Mustardseed is a tween comedy about a girl cast in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. As she struggles to memorize her lines - all four of them - backstage drama and hilarity ensues with the other three teenage girls cast as fairies.

The play is one of a series of plays he’s written that feature Shakespearean characters.

“The series introduces young people to Shakespeare’s characters and language by placing the characters in contemporary situations,” said Cooney.

Cooney will join us again this summer as a guest instructor for our summer theater program, along with Quentin Darrington, Broadway star from the Ragtime revival.

Tuesday's reading is free and open to the public.

For more information, call 813-222-1002.

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