LEAP OnStage is an intensive playwriting residency that immerses young people in storytelling, linear thinking, and creative expression. Each year, more than 700 students in 10 to 15 schools participate in the year-long playwriting, production, and performance program.
Throughout this process, students are introduced to the impact of theater as an art form and the thrill of live performance. This school-year-long artist residency (October-May) provides a safe and structured platform for students to creatively express themselves, enhance their literacy and writing skills, work collaboratively, and celebrate one another’s accomplishments.
During LEAP OnStage, students work with theater teachers and professional directors to learn dramatic structure and how write their own 10-minute plays. Three to five plays from each school are selected as semi-finalists. The schools celebrate the semi-finalists’ work with an in- school performance of these plays. A winner from each school is chosen by a panel of theater professionals, and the students who wrote and perform the plays participate in a workshop day, where they receive feedback on their plays from a panel of experts.
The finalists’ plays are then published in an anthology by the most-recognized name in theater publishing—Samuel French, Inc.—which also sponsors a publishing round table for the student playwrights in its corporate headquarters. At the end of the school year, each school’s winning play is performed in a professional Manhattan theater over the course of two nights, where students, teachers, families, and the general public are in attendance.
"Prior to the LEAP OnStage Program, I did not know I was a
writer. And now, well… This is who I am."