“Just believe in yourself. You know you can do it,” Joneya Simpson says. This is her advice for other young playwrights who may feel nervous about writing their first play. Joneya experienced playwriting for the very first time when Young Playwrights’ Theater brought the In-School Playwriting Program into her 6th grade classroom at the Evans Middle School campus of the Maya Angelou Public Charter School.
“I was inspired to write my play by my best friend Dasia,” Joneya says. “She wants to work at the Rainbow City Mall when she grows up.” In the play, Joneya’s protagonist disagrees with her mother over whether a job at the mall is a good idea. “Her mother doesn’t want her to leave school. She wants her to be a success in life,” Joneya explains. Her play ultimately has a happy ending, with the main character deciding to stay in school but work at the mall over the summer. The mother character says, “You are old enough to make your own decisions.”
When Joneya is old enough to make her own decisions, she hopes to become a veterinarian. “I love animals,” she says. “I have two baby turtles and a cat named Sasha.” Joneya is the oldest of her mother’s children. “It’s a whole lotta work being the oldest,” she reports. When she’s not looking after her younger siblings she likes to read books and write book reports, go shopping, and play double dutch.
“The most important thing to know about me,” Joneya says, “is that I’m nice.”
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