Our after-school playwriting program, the Camp Shephard Project, is modeled after the McArthur Award winning work of New York’s 52nd street program. In its most recent iteration presented in partnership with the Westfield YMCA and Westfield State University, Westfield Middle School students engaged in an eight-week workshop process with playwriting instructors this past spring. The program culminated with the student playwrights working with theatre professionals — designers, directors, and adult actors — to hone and actualize their plays in two public performances for paying adult audiences at Westfield’s Ely Studio Theatre. According to one participant, “my favorite part was writing the play – to express myself and be creative. I am proud of my play.”
Led by Byam Stevens, the Camp Shephard Project (and its predecessor the Gateway Project in Huntington) has gained statewide recognition as a recipient of the 2006 Champions of Arts Education Award from the Massachusetts Alliance of Arts Educators. The program has also accorded CTC status as a Creative Teaching Partner by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.