Stories on the Spot

By Tim Reagan, Middle School Drama Teacher

An accomplished playwright from Tasmania visited Sidwell Friends last week and conducted a writing workshop for 6th graders.

Finegan “Fin” Kruckemeyer is the author of the original play Where Words Once Were, as well as more than 80 others that have been produced around the globe. The students he taught will see Words together in November, when it premieres at the Kennedy Center. In the meantime, they have his words and the creative exercises he led them through to reflect on.

“Everyone in the world has the permission to write,” Fin said during the session in the Drama Studio. “Have faith, and you’ll find that courage.” To get students’ creative juices flowing, he led them in a physical warm-up. Next, he showed how to create fiction and nonfiction stories on the spot. To start thinking creatively, students pointed at and called out the correct names of objects in the studio (a nod to a nonfiction approach). Then they pointed at the same objects but called them what they weren’t (a fiction-based exercise). A chair, for example, was now “Monday”; the ceiling was “the beach.”

Putting to use the pencil and paper they had been instructed to bring, the 6th graders created personal “memory maps” after a demonstration by Fin. They identified key moments on their maps: a time when the course of their life changed; an occasion where someone played an important role in their life; a point when someone believed in them; and finally, their happiest moment. Through it all, Fin encouraged the bourgeoning writers to find their own voice.

Where Words Once Were runs November 7–27 at the Kennedy Center. The play is set in a city where language is rationed and where “a sentence can get you sentenced.” More information is available on the Kennedy Center calender.

Photo by Domi Long

More School News

Designing the Future

Faculty and staff started the school year by helping design a new campus.


Luca White blows his mom a kiss and says “byeeee!” before speeding off. That’s a pretty typical thing for a two-year-old to do, but for Luca and the Sidwell Summer GoBabyGo! community service camp, it’s something special.

Rice Named Gatorade DC Girls Soccer Player of the Year

Kiki Rice '22 has been named the 2018-19 Gatorade District of Columbia Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Rice is the third Gatorade District of Columbia Girls Soccer Player of the Year to be chosen from Sidwell Friends School. The distinction recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.