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Stories

How Child's Play Selects Material
This year CHILD'S PLAY actors will read thousands of new stories and poems by children.  Finding ones that we will perform is a treasure hunt, with great rewards. Briefly, here are some of the elements we look for during the reading process. 

Child Guidelines:

  1. You can write about anything. It can be serious or funny or silly or sad or…you get the picture!

  2. You can write a story, a poem, an essay, a play, or a song. You can make it as long as you want or as short as you want. 

  3. We love drawings and artwork. Please send them with your story or poem. (We also want to listen to your songs and even watch your movies! Submit them to us and maybe we'll put them into our plays.)

  4. If you are sending your work in the mail, write as clearly and neatly as you can. Have your classmates read your writing for good handwriting and spelling. Make sure you check your spelling if you are sending your story online too! 
  5. Remember, you are the writer. That means no copying from a book, story you’re studying in class, your neighbor, a television show, or a movie you’ve just seen.

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Teacher Guidelines:

Encourage your students to be as creative and original as possible. Here are some elements to what we would view as an ideal story or poem for theatrical adaptation.

  1. STRONG STORY LINE  Stories with a well-defined beginning, middle, and end are essential. Given a well-constructed and imaginative plot, our actors can develop additional dialogue and action, expanding and adding detail to the original work.

  2. COLORFUL CHARACTERS  For actors, the most exciting characters to portray are those that are clearly defined by the author. We enjoy authors who provide detailed character descriptions, including their dress, manner, likes, dislikes, relationships, etc.

  3. DIALOGUE  Many children have a talent for natural-sounding dialogue.  In writing conversations for their characters, they often reveal much about themselves.

  4. MORAL OR THEMATIC STATEMENT  Our goal is to educate as well as to entertain. Many of the lessons we teach are from authors themselves. We appreciate stories where we can communicate a moral or thematic point the young writer feels strongly about.

  5. TOPICALITY  We are delighted to find stories that include children's thoughts on current world and national problems or events. They often provide unique solutions and perspectives on so-called adult matters.

  6. STAGING REQUIREMENTS  This refers to the physical production of the new plays. Influencing factors are: number of characters, actors, scenes and settings; special props, costumes or set needs; opportunities for adding music or dance; and audience participation segments.

  7. LIFE THROUGH A CHILD'S EYES  When writing, children often reveal much more about themselves and their feelings than they realize. Their stories are influenced by their upbringing, environment, social and economic stature, prejudices, etc. Works which demonstrate these influences or express the child's individual view of the world are an important part of CHILD'S PLAY.