SPOTLIGHT: NESA CREATIVE WRITING
Madison Munoz, Staff Reporter
On Saturday, October 9, NESA’s Creative Writing majors put on their first show of the year. The show, Lore, featured poems, scripts, and musicals, written by Creative Writing majors. Lore was a cross major production, meaning the Creative Writing department got to collaborate with other NESA majors.
Instrumental Music students played alongside the reading of pieces, Musical Theater students acted out and read scripts from short plays, Visual Artists painted and drew as pieces were read, Cinema majors aided in video productions, and Dance majors had original choreography. The show was very successful, with tickets selling out, and the audience being able to sit on the new PAC stage.
Aside from shows, Creative Writing students also have the opportunity to have their work published to their digital literary magazine, The Bunker Review. The website is configured into three different categories- poetry, fiction, and script. Original artwork from the NESA Visual Arts department is also featured alongside the pieces.
There are five themes that are launched in six week intervals. The Lit Mag Editorial Staff creates mood boards and prompts that the students then use to inspire their pieces; each editor then selects pieces they feel represents the theme. The most recent theme- The Common Life, was launched this past Thursday, November 4.
The student publications create the opportunity to build confidence at a lower stake, while pushing for professional development as they work under deadlines, have their work critiqued, and work with an editor.
Outside of the Literary Magazine, Ms. Amie Charney, Director of Creative Writing, actively encourages her students to pursue outside of school publications; “I hope when they leave NESA, they not only have the skills to be a published author, but hopefully they already are,” Ms. Charney said. “I encourage my students to actively submit to not only our magazines and books, but to outside, professional ones as well. Last year nearly every writer in our program had at least one work published outside of NESA. Another reason student publications are important is that they provide a real world audience! Writing for a reason is an important motivator to tap into the creative flow.”
The day is split into two different classes. The first class our writers have is a craft class based on the year they are. Our first year students study poetry and foundations of writing, second years study fiction, and our third year students study playwriting, screenwriting and tv writing. Our fourth year students then make up the editorial and show staff. The second part of their day is called studio class, where the grade levels are all mixed together. This creates an environment for students to mentor or be mentored by writers who have already studied that material.
Each week Creative Writing majors also have Workshop Wednesdays, where they are given the opportunity to collaborate and receive/give constructive criticism on pieces that are a work in progress. And on Fridays there is open mic, where students can read their work on the stage inside of the classroom. “Even if students go on into other fields, having performance skills is vital. It’s also important to learn how to talk about the work you create. It gives you confidence,” Ms. Charney said.
The CW department will also hold it’s 2nd annual Playoffs, a 10-minute Play Festival, in March. The whole weekend stages 100% student written, directed, and performed work; from scripts written by third year Creative Writers. Last year’s festival was a huge success, and every show sold out. The auditions for the Playoffs are open to any NESA, LEE, ISA or STEM students. Audition for Directors will be held the first week back from winter break and actor auditions will be the week after.
There will also be Senior Shows this Spring in May. As a part of their capstone project, seniors are developing their own 30 minute shows with their original work. “Writing is at the core of most creative arts,” Ms. Charney said. “You wouldn’t have stage plays, movies, tv shows, books, articles, lyrics, and so much more without a creative writer behind it. Learning how to direct or perform those pieces as the writer, gives us a different perspective and a deeper understanding of the work we create.”