By Anya Marquardt
The SUNY Purchase Screenwriting and Playwriting Program is a prestigious and selective course of study. Hicksville High School’s Caitlin Roberti successfully applied to the program and has recently committed to the university.
From a young age, Roberti has always had a passion for playwriting.
“I love writing about anything concerning the social problems that we face today,” Roberti explained. “The first play I ever wrote was about transgender rights, and I just saw how moved people were by it.”
At SUNY Purchase, Roberti will have the opportunity to take a wide array of courses, including multiple courses dedicated to screenwriting and playwriting, seminars on pitch sessions and public speaking for writers. When asked why she wanted to apply to the program, Roberti noted she was inspired by a past teacher.
“One of my inspirations, Mrs. Atkinson, who used to be an art teacher here, told me about the school and the program, and since I am involved in both art and theater, she said the program would be perfectly suited for me,” she said.
Eva Shtein, Roberti’s creative writing teacher, said she had discussed the Purchase program with Roberti’s class and had encouraged her to write. The class also contributes to a writer’s circle, where the students read and critique each other’s work, including Roberti’s submission.
Roberti is the president of National Art Honor Society and the co-treasurer of Hicksville Thespians Chapter—two positions showcasing her high level of dedication to art and theater, making her the perfectly suited student for an accelerated program like SUNY Purchase’s. Roberti has experience with playwriting through the Hicksville Thespians One Act Plays and her participation in the creative writing and acting electives that are offered to high school students.
After receiving her degree in screenwriting and playwriting from SUNY Purchase, Roberti plans to pursue playwriting as a career. She has felt drawn to theater and has always enjoyed the creative outlet that playwriting gives her, noticing the change in interest of theater over the years.
“I’ve been to a lot of Broadway plays and musicals recently, with most of them, like Dear Evan Hansen, being geared towards teenagers. However, instead of seeing a lot of teens at the shows, I’ve seen older people there, which is a bit upsetting due to the fact that this musical is trying to draw in a specific age audience, and is not able to do so,” Roberti said. “I want to specifically go into playwriting because of situations like this. I want to bring theater back to the youth because theater is just so amazing and it’s starting to die out with the younger generations.”
Roberti’s commitment to the arts and theater highlights the passion she has for her career path in the future.
“Playwriting can be so diverse and can tell unique stories that others would not be able to see otherwise,” she said.
Anya Marquardt is a student at Hicksville High School.