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Young Playwrights for Change Archives

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The Playwrights of OTW: Year 2 national winner Alexia McCarty with playwright attendees at One Theatre World 2015 in Chicago. Photo: Johnny Knight Photo


YEAR 1 (2013-14): Anti-bullying

Michael Ford, sponsored by Childsplay and Rising Youth Theatre, Tempe/Phoenix, Arizona, for his play Nerdy Nate & the Anti-bullying Quest.


YEAR 2 (2014-15): What is Family?

Alexia McCarty, sponsored by Noorda Theatre Center for Children and Youth, Orem, Utah, for her play Life Goes On.


Year 2: 2014-15

What is Family?


We see all kinds of family structures all around us. Families blend races, cultures, sexual orientations, and generations. People come to families through adoption, birth, marriage, and in many other ways.

What makes a family?

Why is family important?

We are challenging young playwrights to explore those questions as this year’s topic.


This year’s winning plays as announced March 16, 2015. Congratulations to ALL our young authors who told their stories. See also the TYA News Blog Post.

First Place
Life Goes On
by Alexia McCarty

Sponsored by Noorda Theatre Center for Children and Youth, Orem, Utah

Second Place
Who Is My Family?
by Daniel Coppinger

Sponsored by Hartford Stage, Hartford, Connecticut

Third Place
Speaking of Sexuality
by Alexandria Smith

Sponsored by Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando, Florida

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
The Miracle Mistake by Hannah Boone, Dana Middle School, Hawthorne, California
The Fall of Leif by Fletcher L. Fraher, Adventure Stage, Chicago, Illinois
The Family Tree by Paige Hensley, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Lexington, Kentucky
Finding Jacob by Blake Long, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina
The Flower Girl by Sofia Martinez, ZACH Theatre, Austin, Texas
Lessons With Your Ancestor by Francesca Tamirisa, The Kennedy Center – Young Playwrights’ Theater – Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington, DC

Our 2014-15 Host Organizations

Adventure Stage Chicago at the Northwestern University Settlement House
Alliance Theatre, Atlanta
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
Dana Middle School, Hawthorne, CA
DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre, York, PA
First Stage, Milwaukee
Hartford Stage
Kennedy Center – Young Playwrights’ Theater – Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington, DC
Lexington Children’s Theatre
Nashville Children’s Theatre
New York City Children’s Theatre
Noorda Theatre Center for Children and Youth, Orem, UT
Omaha Theater Company at The Rose Theater
Oregon Children’s Theatre, Portland
Orlando Repertory Theatre
Seattle Children’s Theatre
ZACH Theatre, Austin

Our 2014-15 National Competition Judges

Adam Burke, Doug Cooney, Michael Ford, Moses Goldberg, Jeff Revels, and Chloe Rust (Click photos to learn more.)

Our First-Round Judges

Jenn Adams, Ashley Edwards, Chanel Glover, John Wolbers (Click photos to learn more.)

TYA/USA and AATE member organizations are eligible to host a regional contest. Updated rules and guides are posted here. Please contact us with any questions. The signup deadline for “Year 3” will be some time in the Fall of 2015.

This year’s national winner will be invited to a reading of their play at One Theatre World in Chicago, May 7-9, 2015.

Year 1: 2013-14





TYA/USA and AATE have launched nationwide play writing contest for middle school students focused on giving voice to our nation’s young writers. The project looks to harness the creativity of young playwrights and bring focus to real world issues.

The mission of Young Playwrights for Change is to produce meaningful conversations about the topic of bullying that will ripple across our nation to provoke change. Our goal is to spark conversation and discussion throughout classrooms, schools and communities about the chosen topic.

Select plays plus curriculum materials will be posted here as a resource for the classroom. We are also planning a print and e-book anthology of all regional winners. Watch this space!

One young playwright and two family members will win a trip to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC for our OTW: Sessions event in May 2014 held in conjunction with the New Visions New Voices festival where will present a professional reading and discussion of the winning play.

Watch this space for details on future projects and how your organization can participate.
And the 2014 YPFC Anti-Bullying Plawriting Contest Winner Is…

Theatre for Young Audiences/USA and the American Alliance for Theatre & Education and the Dramatic Change/Young Playwrights for Change Committee proudly Congratulate the Winners of the 2013-14 Middle School Anti-Bullying Playwriting Competition:

First Place
Nerdy Nate and the Anti-Bullying Quest
by Michael Ford

Sponsored by Childsplay and Rising Youth Theatre, Tempe/Phoenix, Arizona

Runner Up:
Bullies Anonymous
by Chloe Rust

Sponsored by Oregon Children’s Theatre, Portland, Oregon


Honorable Mentions:

Dani’s Story by Bergen Haggart, Kaiser Permanente, Denver, Colorado
The Math Behind Amusement Parks by Claire M. Edwards, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Honolulu, Hawaii
You Are Not Alone by Riley Ellis, University of Texas-Austin, Austin, Texas
Founding’s Day by Joshua Curry, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Lexington, Kentucky
A Little Push by Anna Lomsadze, Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia
Combo Pizza by Darci Ramirez, Noorda Theatre Center for Children and Youth at Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah
The New Girl by Eugenia Montsaroff, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle, Washington

Thank you to ALL our awesome playwrights for telling your stories. And thank you for all our regional sponsor organizations.

Our 203-14 Judges

Paula Donnelly, Gary Garrison, Marty Johnson, Aba S. Kumi, Mary Hall Surface. Click photos for more.

Also on the Judges Panel is Tessia Philips, our student judge who comes to us from The Barstow School and The Coterie Theatre’s Young Playwrights’ Festival in Kansas City, Missouri.