[Skip to Content]

Young Playwrights Festival

Watch your words come alive

Wharton Center’s Young Playwrights Festival gives Michigan high school students the opportunity to see their one-act plays brought to life on the Pasant Theatre stage.

Young playwrights work with mentors in the industry to hone and polish their original works, watching them transform into staged productions directed and performed by MSU Department of Theatre students.

Playwrights illuminate what excites or angers them. With YPF, these aspiring dramatists have access to vital mentoring and experience early in their development.

To be that age and have such professional treatment of your words and a professional venue for their performance is the most affirming thing possible for someone who sees a career in writing.

Hanel Baveja, three-time YPF winner

Ready to write?

Michigan high school students are invited to submit a monologue to Wharton Center’s annual juried competition. Twelve original works, written by high school students, will be chosen to be produced by students from MSU’s Department of Theatre. The final product will be filmed and edited for viewing on Wharton Center’s website.


The finalists will each be assigned a professional theater mentor who will assist the playwright with revising their play. Each finalist will receive a $200 award and their monologue will be performed by the MSU Department of Theatre.


To be eligible, each participant must:

  • Be a Michigan high school student in grades 9-12.
  • Be sponsored by a teacher willing to serve as the liaison between Wharton Center, the school, and the student applicant.
  • Submit an application form with script. Parent, sponsoring teacher and student signatures are required.
  • Finalists must be willing to work with an assigned professional theatre mentor to review their play; writers who cannot commit to revising their plays will have their eligibility revoked.


Scripts must be in Microsoft Word format:

  • All pages must be numbered.
  • (NOTE: No student names should be on the scripts as they are sent to judges anonymously.)


All plays must:

  • Be original works.
  • Have no more than one character.
  • Require only simple props, costumes, settings, and effects.
  • Have a maximum length of 2 pages.


Sponsored by MSU Federal Credit Union; Jackson National Life Insurance Company; University Outreach and Engagement; and Wharton Center Inner Circle