The World’s a Vast Stage: A Conversation with Mike Zapata

This summer, instructor Mike Zapata is leading a new and unique Summer Creative Writing Youth Camp. The camp, titled The World Is a Vast Stage: Writing and Performing, takes place June 24-28 and is for young writers ages 7th to 11th grade.

We talked with Mike about some of the details of the camp and what young writers can expect to learn…and more importantly, how much fun they’ll have!

StoryStudio: All the world’s a stage! Can you tell us about the rush you get from performing a piece you’ve written yourself?

Mike Zapata: One of the first times I saw a play I’d written on stage, I was simply overcome with joy. It’s one of the coolest things in the world to see a reality you dreamed up (and worked hard to understand) come alive on stage. Even better, theater  is a community effort and I felt endlessly grateful to the actors, director, technicians, set designers etc. who brought the play to life and greatly improved upon it! 

StoryStudio: Especially for young writers, what are the biggest benefits of workshopping a piece with their peers? What would you say to a young writer who is nervous about reading/performing their work publicly for the first time?

Mike Zapata: Workshopping with peers can be a wonderful and thrilling opportunity. In class, students enter the studio space, per se, of the writer or performer. We are there not to critique, but rather to help share in a creative space and to help writers and performers ask questions and see the vast possibilities of their work. 

StoryStudio:  What are some of the most important lessons young writers will learn and take from this class to apply to their writing?

Mike Zapata: In this camp, young writers will walk away with lessons on how to turn their dreamed-up worlds into reality on stage (and beyond!) We will learn how reading plays can expand our writing and performing toolkits and imagination. We will discuss how  Socratic questions about our own work can challenge our conceptions about storytelling and society. We will review how storytelling itself is both a powerful artistic tool for the individual, but can also play a role in the world at large! Equally important, we will experience how play and, yes, fun, is an integral part to the act of creation!

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