Harpeth Hall student playwrights premiere works at Nashville Rep's first-ever Youth Writers Festival

Meronica Forrester-Kent

Meronica Forrester-Kent has always loved writing short stories or fan fiction. Then, a few months ago, screenwriting got her attention. When she heard about the Nashville Repertory Theatre’s first-ever Young Writers Festival, she got inspired. Meronica, an 8th grade student at Harpeth Hall, sat down and penned her first play.

The result was “Sinister Love,” a stage production about a murder in the small town of Bridal. As the plot unfolds, the audience learns that the person killed was a well-known figure in the town. Harriet Parkes, the main character, goes on an adventure as she tries to figure out who committed this murder.

This weekend, Meronica’s piece will premiere as one of six brand new plays from Nashville’s newest playwrights as part of the Young Writers Festival. Also in the spotlight will be Harpeth Hall 9th grade student Caroline Luttrull, whose showcased work is called "Turn of the Tables" — a clever production about the characters not liking the plot and rewriting the script to create their own endings.

“I am absolutely ecstatic,” Meronica said. “This was an experience that I had been waiting for and the fact that it actually came true was astounding. I can’t wait for everyone to see my play, and I hope they enjoy it as much as I did when I wrote it.”

Bursting with creative energy

 Caroline Luttrull

The Nashville Rep selected the festival's student participants in November. The young writers developed their plays alongside The Theater Bug’s Artistic Director Cori Anne Laemmel and Nashville Rep’s Playwright-In-Residence Nate Eppler in December and then cast and recorded their plays at the beginning of the year. 

“When writing my play, which is set in the Renaissance Era, I went to my mom and said, ‘I hate my play. It’s just so boring,' and she said, 'And so what are you going to do about it?’ “ Caroline said. “And that gave me the inspiration to write a play where the characters can change their endings.

 Caroline Luttrull zooms with theatre mentors as she reviews the play she wrote for the Nashville Rep Young Writers Festival.

“I hope what people take away from my play is to be creative and not limit yourself, which is exactly what I had to do to write this play.”

Meronica said the message of her play is that “no one should keep their feelings in, because sooner and later you will explode and things might not turn out the way you want it to.” 

Right now, Meronica’s feelings are bursting out of her in the form of excitement and gratitude. Both she and Caroline appreciate all the mentorship they received in this process from Theater Bug and Nashville Rep. “Without them,” Meronica said, “I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Watch the premiere

The Young Writers’ Festival will be split into two nights — Friday and Saturday — and streamed live on Nashville Rep’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Both nights of new plays will begin at 7 p.m. All the plays will premiere this weekend and be available to watch online for the next several months.

Nashville Rep's Young Writers Festival features two Harpeth Hall students.

Showing Friday at 7 p.m.:

Birthday Wishes for Emilia by Tigris Parada (homeschool)

Sinister Love by Meronica Forrester-Kent (Harpeth Hall)

The Bat by Dock Havey (Hillsboro High School)

Showing Saturday at 7 p.m.:

Eclipse by Christopher Cooper (Centennial High School)

Alone Together by Liliana Gomez (Nashville School of the Arts)

Turn of the Tables by Caroline Luttrull (Harpeth Hall)