National gun violence playwriting project comes to Long Beach

By GQLSHARE | | Daily NewsPUBLISHED: February 24, 2020 at 5:03 p.m. | UPDATED: February 24, 2020 at 5:04 p.m.

Long Beach’s International City Theatre is currently participating in a national program called #Enough, urging middle and high school students to write 10-minute plays about gun violence, with organizers of the national initiative then giving them a platform to start conversations with their works.

“We’re partnering with many major theaters nationally,” said caryn desai, artistic director and producer at International City Theatre, in Long Beach. “This will bring more awareness to gun violence, especially among the young. It’s a great way to allow students to express themselves about this important topic.”

Michael Cotey, a Chicago director, launched the project last year and it quickly became a national effort. The plan is to have a nationwide reading of finalists’ plays on Dec. 14, the eighth anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut.

The process, desai said, will be similar to ICT’s education program, which has students write short plays to learn the essentials of storytelling: conflict, resolution, conclusion, beginning, middle, end.

“#Enough has a set of step-by-step instructions,” desai said. “I’m hoping we can get teachers, schools involved. But we have to move quickly — the deadline for submissions is April 20.”

Directions and help writing plays — or to facilitate a group of young playwrights — can be found at Questions from teachers or group leaders can be emailed to Cotey at

Once plays are submitted, a committee of award-winning playwrights will choose the finalists. Schools, theater groups and other organizations are being sought to participate in a simultaneous national reading on Dec. 14.

Hosts can also read plays by local student authors, and desai said that might be the case in Long Beach.

“But I want us to have a finalist,” she said. “I want to see us do that.”