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Phillips’ Mill presents staged readings of student playwriting challenge winners


Drama at Phillips’ Mill has announced the winners of the new student playwriting challenge, “Play With Words.”

Two plays were selected to receive top honors including a staged reading of the plays at 3 p.m. March 12, at the Mill, 2619 River Road, New Hope.

Seventh-grader Gracie Lin from Princeton Day School was recognized for her play, “Our Blue Period,” which explores a relationship moving from friendship to romance. This is Lin’s first foray into the world of playwriting, and she was excited to participate in the challenge. She was encouraged to enter the challenge by former teacher Angharad Rebholz.

In addition to writing, Lin enjoys a wide variety of artistic disciplines including playing the cello and piano, as well as the visual arts.

Matilda Bray is an 11th grade student at the Solebury School who published her first book of poetry, “Under the Moon as My Sun,” in 2018. Her work has been published in Rattle, Tipton Poetry Journal, Sad Girls Club, OpenDoor Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, River Poets Journal and the Moonstone Poets Anthology.

Bray’s play, “We Took Root,” examines the concept of letting go in order to build anew. She regularly competes at open poetry competitions and is a voracious reader and cross-country runner.

“Roll Over Beethoven,” a highly creative, allegorical play written by two local high school students, also will be included in the staged readings.

Guest artist, playwright Griffin Horn will host the staged reading event and share his insights on playwriting with the audience. Horn holds an MFA in playwriting from Temple University and has taught at McCarter Theatre Center and Arena Stage. He is the author of both full-length and short plays and his work has been staged in Philadelphia and New York City.

Local playwright Lisa DeAngelis served as juror for the first “Play With Words” challenge. “I was amazed at the quality of the submissions this year for Play With Words,” she said, adding, “Showcasing a student’s work on stage helps the playwright appreciate the reaction of a live audience to their play.”

Following the success of the Mill’s Emerging Playwright Competition, now in its 5th year, “Play With Words” was developed to encourage students in grades 6-12 to explore playwriting to express their creative ideas.

“We are happy to share the Mill stage with such budding talent. Watching a theatrical performance of the play really brings it to life,” said Valerie Eastburn, chairman of drama at Phillips’ Mill.

To secure a seat at the inaugural staged reading event and learn more about this new program for students, visit

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