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Nov 14, 2019

Seeking Playwrights for the 24th Annual Young Playwrights Festival

Michigan high school students who have a passion for playwriting are invited to submit a one-act play for the 24th annual juried competition, Wharton Center’s Young Playwrights Festival (YPF).

This program of Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity brings student works alive on the Pasant Theatre stage. Twelve semi-finalists will be chosen out of all submitted scripts. A jury will select six finalists out of the twelve, and these finalists will have their one-act plays produced at Wharton Center. A professional theatre mentor will be assigned to each student to assist in revising the play. Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre students will serve as actors for the plays. The six finalists will each receive a $200 award for their winning works, and the other six semi-finalists will receive a $100 award.

In the spring of 2020, the six winning plays will be performed two times. The first performance is on Saturday, May 9, at 2:00 p.m.; it is free and open to the public. The second performance on Monday, May 11, at 10:00 a.m. is a free high school performance; all sponsoring teachers are encouraged to attend.

To be eligible for this unique program:

  • Students must be a Michigan high school student (grades 9-12)
  • Students must be sponsored by a teacher willing to serve as the liaison between Wharton Center, the school, and the student applicant.
  • Students must 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.

All one-act plays must be submitted electronically as a Microsoft Word document by Monday, December 2, 2019. Please see Script Submission Rules for complete details.

Professional mentors for 2020 include:

  • Janice Akers – Artistic Director, Theater Emory, Emory University
  • Thomas Coté – Artistic Director, The Workshop Theater, New York City
  • Joe Giardina – New York City Theater Artist
  • Eric Gilde – NYC-based Actor and Playwright
  • Pam Sterling – Associate Professor of Theatre, Arizona State University
  • Elizabeth Wong – LA-based Playwright
  • Please note, mentors are subject to change.

The Young Playwrights Festival is sponsored by University Outreach and Engagement; MSU Federal Credit Union; and Wharton Center Inner Circle