CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — More than 40 child, teen and adult actors took part in a national stream of seven short plays about gun violence.

The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre performed in “#ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence,” featuring plays written by high schoolers. The plays debuted through YouTube and the Station Theatre’s Facebook page on December 14, 2020, the eight-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings.

The play readings were all directed by first-time Station Theatre directors: Centennial High School senior Chevonne Dixon, Parkland student Excellence Onalundula, Illinois Theatre students Leojaé Payton and Emily Albert-Stauning, local theatre artists Shawn Rodriguez and Prince Robertson, and Leslie Smith of Black Voices Theatre Productions.

“This project furthers the Station Theatre’s mission to connect with the greater Champaign-Urbana community and increase participation of people from underrepresented communities,” Station Theatre board president Jaclyn Loewenstein said in a statement. “It’s a timely opportunity to bring together activism and the arts.” 

Following the performances, Station Theatre board member Latrelle Bright and members of C-U’s Moms Demand Action group led a Zoom discussion.

The plays focused on gun violence, the threat of school shootings, police shootings, community violence, race and gun culture. The winning plays were selected from 184 submissions by a panel that included Lauren Gunderson, Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney, Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Schenkkan, Tony Award-winner David Henry Hwang and Karen Zacarías.

More details on all seven winning playwrights and their plays, can be found online here.