, Founder/Director of the Milken Playwriting Prize, has extensive experience working with playwrights. He served as Dramaturg/Literary Manager at Seattle’s Intiman Theatre, founded the Seattle Playwrights Alliance, and worked as co-director of the Ojai Playwrights Conference. He has written and directed dozens of plays, working with noted writers and receiving a commission from the Denver Center to adapt Newbery Award Winner Avi’s The End of the Beginning
. As an educator, Menna taught in the MFA Acting Program at the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver as well as in various high schools. He has taught at Milken Community Schools for more than 8 years. He has also co-directed the Denver Center's Living History program, which reached more than 10,000 high school students annually with its mix of theater, history, ethics and literature. He holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Washington. www.robertmenna.com
Sarah Figoten Wilson
’s directing credits include Mary Poppins
(Musical Theatre Orange County), Little Women
(Chance Theater), She Loves Me
(Chance Theater- LA Times Critics Choice), the world premiere of The Face in the Reeds
(Ruskin Group Theatre), Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well…
(Costa Mesa Playhouse), and Odilia
(Hollywood Fringe Festival award winner). She served as Assistant Director on Death of a Salesman
and The...Hat at South
Coast Repertory, as well as assisting on the Broadway work sessions for David Mamet’s China Doll
starring Al Pacino. She will be directing the world premiere of Hello Stranger
at Theatre of NOTE this Fall. As a theater educator, Sarah has directed over 1000 students in the 11 years she has run the Performing Arts program at St. Mel School in Woodland Hills. She is also a costume designer whose work has been nominated for both LA Weekly & NAACP awards. Sarah is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton & The Ruskin School of Acting’s 2-year Meisner Conservatory and is a company member at the Ruskin Group Theatre. www.sarahfwilson.com
Milken Community Schools is one of the largest Jewish, independent, co-educational schools in the country. Serving grades 7-12, Milken is a place of rigorous academic exploration and intellectual inquiry built on a foundation of spiritual and ethical practice, developing students with sharp minds, generous hearts, and kind souls. The school's 10-acre campus is located in the Santa Monica Mountains along the Mulholland Corridor.
What is the Milken Playwriting Prize?
The Milken Playwriting Prize is a biennial theater prize for plays that are written for teen actors to perform. The prize is $2,000, with a play development process culminating in a full production at Milken Community Schools. The goal is to encourage skilled playwrights and authors to write extraordinary plays that are suited to teen actors: shorter plays with large casts and more roles for females. Most playwrights today are focused on writing small cast shows for theaters, even though many opportunities exist for larger high school productions throughout the English-speaking world. The Milken Playwriting Prize winner will be widely publicized.