Central Florida K-12 students were given the writing prompt, “From My Perspective: Let Me Tell You About…” The best submissions have been transformed into the show Mystic Glen, a collaboration between Theatre UCF graduate students and the Orlando REP.

This event is presented in collaboration with Orlando Repertory Theatre.
Generously supported by Florida Blue.


Central Florida K-12 students were given the writing prompt, “From My Perspective: Let Me Tell You About…” The best submissions have been transformed into a new theatre work in collaboration between Theatre UCF graduate students and the Orlando REP to promote drama in the classroom, writing and critical thinking, and community engagement advocating for young voices to be heard.


What is Writes of Spring?

Orlando Repertory Theatre and the graduate students of the University of Central Florida’s Theatre for Young Audiences M.F.A. program work in partnership to present Writes of Spring, an annual writing and creativity contest dedicated to celebrating the works of youth in Central Florida. The project strives to support literacy, critical thinking, and creative expression by transforming student words into a fully produced show.


About Writes of Spring 2017

In its 15th year, the Writes of Spring competition presented a writing prompt for the students to address in their entries: “From My Perspective, Let Me Tell You About…”. Students submitted over 450 moving essays, poems, and short stories that challenged or celebrated each student’s personal belief regarding freedom of speech. This year’s play Mystic Glen, has sought to explore the intergenerational themes and personal stories that bring richness to any art and has been a special boon to Writes of Spring.


Scene 1 – Introduction

Scene 2 – Mariposa Manning’s Room

Scene 3 – Pilots, Elwyn and Helen

Scene 4 – Captain Reggie

Scene 5 – Darkness

Scene 6 – Queendom and Secrets

Scene 7 – Dullden

Scene 8 – Space

Scene 9 – Cuba

Writes of Spring Company

Education Director: Jennifer Adams

Project Coordinator/Project Education Director: Scott Savage has a B.A. from Brigham Young University in Theatre Arts Education and TESOL. Scott is currently and M.F.A. Candidate at UCF in the Theatre for Young Audiences program. He’s a husband, father, teacher, lighting designer, improviser and a Mormon.

Project Assistant Coordinator: Bianca Alamo is an M.F.A. Theatre for Young Audiences candidate at the University of Central Florida. She volunteers as the Theatre Ministry director for her local church where she debuted her first original musical this past Christmas.

Playwright and Composer: Ralph Gregory Krumins  is a Theatre for Young Audiences M.F.A. candidate at University of Central Florida. Other playwriting/composing credits are Jason & The Argonauts, Dino-RAWR, and The Littlest Pirate.

Event Coordinator: Kate Kilpatrick  is a first-year Theatre for Young Audiences M.F.A. candidate at UCF. She has a B.F.A. in Acting from Michigan State University. When she isn’t attending class as a student, you can find her teaching at Edgewood Children’s Ranch and the Orlando REP.

Director: Brittany Caine  is a first year Theatre for Young Audiences M.F.A. candidate at UCF. Brittany holds a B.A. from Smith College in Theatre and Jewish Studies. She hails from the Bay Area, where she worked as a teaching artist and youth director.

Assistant Director: Emma Boles is a senior at Edgewater High School. She is currently working on Hairspray as Velma. This is the first show where she has been an assistant director.

Stage Manager: Tiffany Nystrom

Assistant Stage Manager: Ali Miller

Assistant Stage Manager: Jazlynne Williams

Production Assistant: Lauren Vick

Projection Designer: Emily Snell is a senior in the B.F.A. Design & Technology program at the University of Central Florida. Her previous lighting, projection, and sound UCF credits belong to An Octoroon, 26 Pebbles, Oklahoma!, Young Frankenstein, and The World Goes ‘Round. She recently finished a summer internship for lighting and sound with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.



AJ Deleon (Henry ) is 13 years old. He is a student at Columbus Center Dance Academy. His first performance with Theatre was St. Luke’s Production of Big Fish. He recently played Finch in The Rep’s Production of Disney’s, Newsies! He is part of The National Junior Honor Society, as well as The Rep’s Student Advisory Board.

Alessandro Mejia (Ryu)  is a musical theatre major at Rochelle SOTA, he was most recently was seen as Buddy in Elf.

Arius West (Reggie) just graduated from the University of Central Florida with Bachelor Degrees in Theatre and Education. Since moving to Orlando, he has also worked with Beth Marshall Presents productions and The Orlando Fringe Festival. Currently, he is working toward being a certified Actor Combatant registered under the Society of American Fight Directors.

Bob Brandenburg (Elwyn)

Eislinn Gracen (Nurse Lucy)  is an 8th grade student at Howard Academy of the Arts. Some favorite roles include Scar (The Lion King), The Childcatcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), and Erma Latour (Anything Goes).

Gabriella Mercado (Mariposa Manning) is currently studying theatre and marketing at UCF. She recently made her debut at the Rep as La Reina Araña in a staged reading of When Coquis Sing. Previous credits also include Iphigenia and Other Daughters (Chorus), Little Shop of Horrors (Chiffon), and The Crucible (Elizabeth Proctor).

Holly Rubich (Helen) taught elementary school for 37 years and raised her three sons to adulthood, Holly is now pursuing her childhood dream of performing. One of her favorite roles was the Wicked Witch of the West.

Karen Marulanda (Dr. Sohana) was previously seen at the REP in Writes of Spring 2015. She graduated from the University of Florida with a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance in 2017. Previous acting credits include  King Lear, The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, Melancholy Play, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

Maddie Belanoff (Plum)  attends 6th grade at Howard Academy for the Arts. Recent roles include Trixie Pendleton (Nancy Drew/Rep), Chip (Beauty and the Beast/St. Luke’s) and Kate (Annie/Garden Theatre).

Victoria Salisbury (Lena) is in sixth grade with FLVS and enjoys spending her free time dancing and singing. A few of her previous productions include: Shrek, Beauty and the Beast, iDance Orlando, and Annie. Victoria is also a voice-over over and commercial actress appearing in national and international roles.


Winners of the Writes of Spring 2017

Be a writer for next year! Share your ideas for next year’s writing prompt by emailing [email protected]. The 2018 Writes of Spring writing prompt will be shared in August. All K-12 students are encouraged to submit their original writing in a one-page written submission. More information available at www.orlandorep.com/writes-of-spring.

Grade 1

Emmery Stamper – Colors I See

Erin Van Dyke – I Love Space

Grade 2

Andrew Sullivan – Fall

David Bertolucci – How Views Inspire Me

Grade 3

Kate Budzinski – Being a Reader

Ryu Hancock – My Life Changing Experience

Cassina Ross – The Cat’s Quandry

Grade 4

Trever Depasquale – Dragons Are Real

Emma Russell – How I See the World

Skylar Stone – My Perspective of The World Is…

Grade 5

Emma Hill – Dogs

Amanda Jane Rossen – Let Me Tell You About God

Adalyn Forester – Life

Sammie Firebaugh – I Am Unique

William Chanfrau – Catching a Lobster

Thomas Cohen – The Typewriter

Grade 6

Sohana Raisa – All You Need is One Voice

Peyton Garcia – Being Comfortable With Me

Jonathan Cotton – Friendship

Chloe Caven – My Life Changing Experience

Alex Beekman – Cheerleading

Alex Shepherd – The Answer

Abhinav Malhotra – The Shopping Bag and Its Journey

Luke Manning – The Strength and Pain of the Manning Household

Amanda Callies – The World Through My Eyes

Brianna Coen – Life of a Female Football Player

Caitlin Thomas – Family

Brooke Vargas – Art

Grade 7

Olivia McCrady – A New Start Blooming

Martha Marvofrides – Anne Frank

Joseph Michaels – My Grandpa

Summer Love – Sailing Into Trouble

Robert Harvie – SHARK!

Evan Vickaryous – The Blue Stone

Elyse Arias – Untold Stories

Alfonso Hilerio – Why Christianity Is the Best

Alicia Penny – Doctor’s Dream

Grade 8

Avery Branch – Be Still

Kelly Schaible – Breaking Mental Health Barriers

Caroline Chanfrau – Dancing

Annika  Vaidyanathan – Ending Hatred Once and For All — United We Stand, Divided we Fall

Isabella Clark – Fight for Freedom

Maliha Delvalle – Following the American Dream

Timia Nguyen – Generations

Melinda Cheatham – Discrimination

Isabella Otero – Gone But Not Forgotten

Erin Hagy – Lady of Grey

Nicholas Clouser – Leonardo Di Vinci

Hailey Donahue – How the World Was Ending

Nicole Nowry – Life

Theodorous Marvofrides – Loss In A Lifetime

Hannah Iiames – My Perspective On Our Youth

Anasofia Diaz – Only One Lesson

Samantha Froemming – Social Media

Abigail Sloan – Summer and School

Abigail Lin – Technology

Elise San Martin – The Impact of a Mother

Emma Holder – Why My Family is Different

Grade 9

Macie McCully – Firsts

Liam Goodowens – MII

Grade 10

Ivy Lukas – Pain

Kera Hinton – Mechanical Heart

Grade 11

Emily Scheels – Growing Up

Alexia Bowers – I Am Me

Grade 12

Hailey Stack – The Graveyard

Orlando Repertory Theatre & UCF Theatre for Young Audiences Partnership
There are fewer than 10 MFA programs in Theatre for Young Audiences in the country, and only one in the state of Florida. Orlando REP’s partnership with UCF is the only program in the country in which a direct partnership exists between the university and a professional Theatre for Young Audiences. This partnership allows a dual focus on theory and practice. Students spend their first two years in residency at Orlando Repertory Theatre, working in administration, production, and education departments. Students are integrated into Orlando REP’s season, affording them the opportunity to work alongside professional artists and administrators. MFA students also teach in Orlando REP’s award-winning Youth academy classes, camps and productions, all while studying with UCF’s esteemed theatre faculty. To learn more about this unique partnership, please visit orlandorep.com.