Piti Theatre’s Valley Playwright Mentoring is a vehicle for teens to share stories from their lives with their communities. By creating a safe and supportive online community of arts-inspired teens, VPM offers the opportunity for improvisation, brainstorming and generating scenes which are then recorded as short podcasts. This is a six month mentoring program and participants receive a stipend. Following COVID, we switched to an all virtual format and the podcasts are available for listening on the VPM webpage. Subjects have ranged from opioid abuse to cyber-bullying to stalking to COVID to Coming Out.

One young artist had this to say: “Because I have learned how to communicate with people in VPM, and have gotten more comfortable with it, I am more comfortable leading projects with the MTEA [Mohawk Trail Equity Alliance]. This means that I feel more comfortable talking to teachers, principals, and community members about the issues we are trying to solve. Problem solving has also become easier for me. In VPM we have to fix problems in the scenes we are doing to come to a conclusion, it’s like practice for real life.”

Our goals for the program include participants:

  • developing their capacity for leadership, communication and creativity
  • experiencing the support of a small group of peers and adults over an extended period of time
  • discovering the ways in which challenging aspects of their personal experiences can be transformed by reimagining them as theatre and sharing them for the benefit of other teens living similar stories

The majority of the teens we have served are from underserved towns in Franklin County.