We are thrilled that Octavio Solis, the acclaimed Bay Area-based playwright, has joined us for this year’s Young Authors’ Book Project. Octavio visited the students working on this semester-long project this week to give them some words of encouragement and tips from one playwright to a room full of them. He spoke about the importance of identity and telling the stories that make you who you are, and he shared how he, like the students with their 826 tutors, has dramaturgs who work with him to write and revise his plays. Then Octavio, who is just beginning rehearsals for his new musical, Cloudlands, swapped stories with the students about going into production mode, which is what the Downtown playwrights are doing right now.
Every year, 826 Valencia partners with a different high school in San Francisco to tackle the Young Authors’ Book Project. This year at Downtown, the thirty-five student writers wrote plays and monologues with eight weeks of support from 826 Valencia tutors in the classroom. At the same time, they worked with American Conservatory Theater (act-sf.org) to take acting classes. Now, as a board of student editors puts the final touches on the publication of their pieces, they are preparing to perform their work as well at ACT. We can’t wait to see the final results of this great collaboration later this spring, when we watch the performance and hold the finished book in our hands!