ST. LOUIS: The community arts center COCA has announced the premiere of the COCAwrites Festival, which will take place outdoors March 27-28. The festival of new works was created by St. Louis theatre professionals and COCA students.
“The festival marks a new movement in COCA’s theatre programming,” said Jennifer Wintzer, COCA’s artistic director of theatre, in a statement. “The COCAwrites Festival uplifts the voices of young people, adding a fresh perspective to the growing St. Louis new work landscape.”
The headlining production of the festival will be Mariah Richardson’s Suffer the Children, directed by Jacqueline Thompson with associate director Gaby Rodriguez. Suffer the Children is part of a series of plays that follow Delilah, a young girl who finds that her school is on lockdown and is surrounded by a SWAT team.
Preceding the performance of Suffer the Children, audiences can watch 10-minute companion pieces written and directed by COCA students. The first, Nikki Prodes’s Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner, follows two teenage girls navigating love in a small town. The second, A Day in the Life of Finnigan Daniels by Sophia Levinson, follows a teenage girl struggling with anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The festival will also feature a reading of RealTalk by Colin McLaughlin, to be directed by Wintzer.
COCA is a regional hub for learning in and through the arts for all ages, serving students, artists, audiences, and families in the St. Louis region. COCAwrites promotes the writing and development of new plays through collaboration and mentorship among professional and student playwrights.
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