I am in a play for children. It's done by a non-profit, Austin Summer Musical for Children. The group puts on a play geared for children under the age of 8. All performances except one are free, and we do ten of them (plus that one fundraiser night for a total of eleven) over 2 weekends. If you are in the Austin area and have kids about the right age, come out and see us. We've seen only smiling faces, so apparently the kids are having fun.
Since this non-profit works solely off donations and grants, it does not have the budget to license children's musicals like School House Rock. Instead, they have a script committee that writes the show each year. Despite never having written or edited a children's play before, I'll be joining this committee for next year. And that got me thinking. Plays are one of the forgotten branches of children's literature. Very little scholarship is done on it, and people almost never think of it when they are considering creative projects. My school where I'm getting my MA (or at least will get if my thesis meter ever moves again) has never offered any kind of class dealing with plays for children. They've offered several on children's films, but these aren't quite the same.
So, my questions is: Who are the great children's playwrights? Who are those people creating great shows for children's audiences? What kinds of plays are they writing? What age do they target? Sadly, I know so little on the subject, I can't name a single one. I look forward to being enlightened by you all. Use the comments link below to express your opinion.