Young Playwrights Festival

Every June, The Blank Theatre produces the 12 best plays by playwrights ages 9 to 19, chosen from a nationwide competition.


In the past 24 years, we’ve produced 284 plays by these young writers. Nowhere else in the nation can young playwrights receive the prize of seeing their vision come to life on stage in a professional production featuring known actors from film, television and theatre.

Ready to submit your play to the Festival?

The Young Playwrights Festival is a 23 year-old nationwide playwriting
competition for writers ages 9 to 19. The 12 best plays are chosen by a panel of
theatre professionals from submissions across America. Winning playwrights
are provided careful mentoring and direction from industry professionals to
help prepare their work for public performance and hone their skills, talent and

Nowhere else in the nation can young playwrights receive the prize of seeing
their vision come to life on stage in a professional production featuring known
actors from film, television and theatre. The plays are crafted by seasoned professional
directors and each is given several public performances in a month-long Festival.
The Festival plays a critical role in training and supporting the next generation of
theatre artists. There are no submission fees for this program.

This Festival is unique in the United States. While there may be other young playwrights programs, YPF differs from the rest in two ways:

(1) we fully produce the winning plays, and
(2) we provide the playwrights a professional experience from beginning to end; they are never considered “students,” they are the playwrights.

What began in 1993 as a one night only reading, with scripts submitted from Los Angeles County, has become a month-long festival of 12 plays professionally staged for full weekend runs, with submissions from 27 different states.

YPF plays a critical role in training and supporting the next generation of theatre artists. Many of these playwrights have gone on to successful writing careers in and out of the theatre. As we say in our curtain speech each evening, ”These kids are the future of the theatre. If we don’t support their work today, we won’t have a generation of artists tomorrow.”

Under the direction of The Blank’s Founding Artistic Director Daniel Henning, The Blank’s Annual Nationwide Young Playwrights Festival is presented at The Stella Adler in Hollywood, CA in June of every year. Rehearsals also take place at The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre in Hollywood. The 12 winning plays are professionally produced for weekend-long runs.

The Young Playwrights Festival is a unique opportunity to magnify the voices of our youth, and thus not only present their interpretations of the world but channel their vision into the public consciousness.

In the past few years, the decrease in arts funding at schools has made the arts even less accessible to children, and as made a career in the arts seem next to impossible for them. YPF works to restore this gap by providing students with the opportunity to be fully immersed in an artistic production, to have their unique voices heard on a national level, and to be introduced to the professional Theatre world.

Young Playwrights Festival brings a national audience to Los Angeles and builds the future of theatre at the same time. This program is not only a sustainable event for The Blank, it is also
designed to sustain the art of Theatre for future generations.

Each year we inspire more and more young writers as evidenced by the growing number of submissions. One of the most important aspects of the Festival, and its most enduring feature, is the legacy it continues to create. The Festival plays a critical role in training and supporting the next generation of theatre artists:

Victor Kaufold, a YPF winner, tackled the issue of school shootings in The Why which was then produced on our Mainstage for which Victor earned an Ovation Award nomination for “Best Writing-World Premiere” at 19 years old.

Lauren Yee, a two-time YPF inner, is having her plays produced all across the country and was nominated for the prestigious John Gassner Award by the NY Outer Critics Circle.

Austin Winsberg, a five-time winner, recently had his musical First Date open on Broadway this season and adapted the highly-successful The Sound of Music Live! on NBC.

And most impressively, Stephen Karam, a three-time YPF winner, was a 2012 finalist for
the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play Sons of the Prophet. Karam later won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Play for The Humans/

As a result of winning YPF, these exciting writers all made their professional stage debuts in Los Angeles. Along with 282 others over the years.

Of all the work we do at The Blank, it is our nationwide Young Playwrights Festival that is creating the greatest long-term impact on the future of theatre.

The Blank Theatre’s Annual Young Playwrights Festival brings attention to Los Angeles as an important creator of new theatrical artists and work, gives young people a chance to have their unique voices heard in a professional setting, and gives audiences a glimpse into these young hearts and minds — as well as the thrill of seeing future Pulitzer Prize Finalists and Broadway librettists in their first professional productions.

DEADLINE: Plays or musicals must be submitted online, e-mailed or postmarked by MARCH 15, 2017.

FEES: There are no fees for submitting your work to the Festival.

ELIGIBILITY: Playwrights must be 19 years old or younger on March 15, 2017; co-written plays are allowed, provided all writers meet age requirement.

CONTENT: Original plays or musicals on any subject.

LIMIT: Up to 3 plays per playwright or playwright team.

FORMAT: All plays must have numbered script pages. Plays submitted through should follow requirements. Plays submitted by e-mail must be sent as PDF. Plays submitted by mail must be printed on one side of a page and unbound.

COVER SHEET: Along with play script(s), submissions must include a Cover Sheet with: Title, Playwright Name, Playwright Date of Birth (with year), Age, School Name (if applicable), E-Mail Address, Contact Phone Number, Mailing Address.

NO RETURNS: Scripts will not be returned so please do not send originals.

NOTIFICATION: We will contact Festival Competition winners in May 2017.

PERFORMANCE: Winning plays will be performed in the Festival in Los Angeles in June 2017.

SUBMIT ONLINE: Browse to, create an account and follow the instructions to submit your play(s) and cover sheet.

SUBMIT BY E-MAIL: Send play(s) and cover sheet as PDF with play title in subject line to:

SUBMIT BY MAIL: Send unbound play(s) and cover sheet to:

Young Playwrights Festival
c/o The Blank Theatre
PO Box 1094
Los Angeles, CA 90078

Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation
The Plum Foundation
The Rosenthal Family Foundation
The Walt Disney Company
Past Festivals have featured actors such as Chris Pine (STAR TREK), Katie Lowes (SCANDAL), Matthew Moy (2 BROKE GIRLS), Heather Morris and Max Adler (GLEE), Jeremy Sisto (LAW & ORDER, SIX FEET UNDER), Michael Welch (TWILIGHT), Brianna Brown (DEVIOUS MAIDS), Dee Wallace (ET: THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL), Dale Dickey (TRUE BLOOD, WINTER’S BONE), Noah Wyle (FALLING SKIES, ER), Nicholas Brendon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Marsters, Tom Lenk, Danny Strong and Eliza Dushku (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER), Tiffani Thiessen (WHITE COLLAR), Josh Radnor and Alyson Hannigan (HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER), Sarah Drew (GREY’S ANATOMY), Debra Messing (WILL & GRACE, SMASH), Angel Parker (LAB RATS), Parvesh Cheena (SEAN SAVES THE WORLD), Mark Valley (BOSTON LEGAL), Constance Zimmer (HOUSE OF CARDS), Jerry O’Connell (JERRY MAGUIRE), Ariel Winter (MODERN FAMILY), Kathryn Joosten and Todd Grinnell (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES), Megan Ward (GENERAL HOSPITAL), plus over 1200 other professional mentors, directors, actors, producers and crew!