Deer Park grad pursuing career as playwright

Amy Gijsbers Van Wijk, a 2010 graduate of Deer Park High School, has a passion for writing plays. She discovered this passion at a college event in which participants were asked to write a play within a 24-hour period. After penning that play and seeing it performed, she was hooked. Gijsbers Van Wijk is now a sophomore majoring in Theatrical Authorship Studies at Macaulay Honors College in New York City. Her courses consist of playwriting, drama and theatre history and technical theatre training. Her path to playwriting started with a simple search on Zinch.org.

This website helps students match their grade point average, interests, type of school, etc, to colleges and universities which contact them based on their information. Macaulay Honors College fit Gijsbers Van Wijk’s educational needs and gave her a full undergraduate tuition scholarship and a Macaulay Opportunities Fund grant of $7,500 to attend. 

She is currently interning as an apprentice playwright and production intern at Wide-Eyed Theatre Productions, a New York City-based collective of artists dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in risk-taking, relevant theatre. She has also tutored at 826NYC, a non-profit created by Dave Eggers, working with K-12 students.

Volunteering for 826NYC, she said, made her more conscious of children and fed her passion for social-change theatre.

“I like to focus on things that, to be frank, make people uncomfortable. I work with realism and surrealism — though lately I’m gravitating more towards surrealism. I tend to focus, mainly, on issues of gender identity and sexuality in American culture. I like to provide a voice to complicated, uncomfortable issues like sexuality, race, stereotypes of men and women, and there's usually some kind of violence involved — mental, physical, or emotional,” she said.

Gijsbers Van Wijk is now working on her first full-length play, Second Skin. She is also working with a professor to extend a 13-page play she wrote for class. 

Annette Santos is an intern at Houston Woman Magazine. She is majoring in journalism at the Valenti School of Journalism at the University of Houston.
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