Adventurous students from as far as Wichita and Topeka will converge on Independence Community College for the William Inge Center for the Arts 10th Annual High School 24 Hour Plays, with the performance set for 8 p.m. Saturday Sept. 15.
Students from Highland Park High School in Topeka, and Collegiate and Independent high schools in Wichita, join those from Southeast Kansas to write and produce six short original plays in just one day’s time. To date, additional participating schools include Wellington, Neodesha, Labette County, and Independence, with others likely to confirm.
In 2011, Jesuit High School of New Orleans set a record for the longest trek to the High School 24 Hour Plays, bringing four students. It was a “scouting mission” for Jesuit, to see how the event works, because this fall they host the first-ever High School 24 Hour Plays in Louisiana.
“The High School 24 Hour Plays are an intense academic, as well as artistic, challenge,” said Peter Ellenstein, Inge Center artistic director. “It is not at all surprising that one of the most respected prep schools in that state wants to host their own 24 Hour Plays.”
At the High School 24 Hour Plays, there is no inter-school competition; rather, students from different schools are deliberately placed together to work with one another.
Despite its title, no one person actually stays up the entire 24 hours to pull together the six short plays. However, there is one specific performance time for the public to view the results: that is 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, for about an 80-minute performance.
Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for students and available at the door at the William Inge Theatre at Independence Community College.
This event is presented in collaboration with the original 24-Hour Plays Company. Since it was created in 1995 by Christina Fallon, the 24-Hour Company has produced more than 300 new short plays. Audiences have enjoyed these fresh productions in cities, colleges and high schools all over the country. One high-profile event, a benefit for New York City schools, takes place on Broadway and features star actors.
Major supporters of the William Inge Center for the Arts include the William Inge Festival Foundation, Independence Community College, and the Independence Chamber of Commerce.
This program is presented in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes a great nation deserves great art.