This year's Upper School fall play is an adaptation of Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" written by Nichols School alumna Bella Poynton '03. An accomplished playwright and scholar of the performing arts, Poynton addressed the Upper School on Friday morning as part of the 2019-20 Alumni Speaker Series.
Poynton shared her playwriting influences and what she learned by developing her voice through the writing and producing experience. She also spoke of her deep love for science fiction, what she learned about the sci-fi genre's potential on the stage, and how the genre affords her greater freedom as a storyteller.
Poynton and Nichols School faculty, staff and students are preparing for three presentations of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" next week. After a school matinee on Thursday, November 21, there will be two performances for the public on Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23. Both plays begin at 7 p.m. and tickets are $5.
Later on Friday, Poynton also joined acting classes in the Middle School and Upper School to answer students' questions as they prepare their own plays throughout the school year for the Nichols community.
A playwright, director and scholar, Poynton was a Regional Playwriting Resident at Road Less Traveled Productions from 2016-2018 and is the director of Queen City Playwrights, Buffalo's newest new play development workshop for area playwrights. Recently, her plays have been produced and developed by The Bechdel Group, MadLab Theatre, Quantum Dragon Theatre Company, Alleyway Theatre, The Antaeus Company, The Great Plains Theatre Festival and Otherworld Theatre.
After graduating from Nichols School, Poynton went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Boston University, a Master of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from the University at Buffalo, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Playwriting from the University of Iowa. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate studying Performance Studies at the University at Buffalo. Her scholarly research focuses on cyberculture, robotics in performance and science fiction in the theatre.
Thank you Bella for sharing your experiences with our students!