Young Playwrights Festival


This year’s 13-play Festival was presented exclusively on the Blank’s private Vimeo channel starting the first week of August.

If you missed any of the Festival, don’t worry! You can still see them ALL!

To view Plays, simply register for a FREE FESTIVAL PASS (all 13 Plays). Your festival pass will allow you to view any or all of the 13 plays.

After you register, you’ll receive viewing instructions and a “watch code” enabling you to view the Plays on Vimeo.

Get your FREE YPF 2020 Festival Pass and support the Future of  Theatre! 

For more information:

YPF 2020 Winning Plays


View Week 1 Plays (Free Watch Code Required)

Program-Week 1 (PDF)

The First Year I Missed
By Zoe Boray, age 16 and Lea Mihok, age 16
Burlington, VT
Mentored by Gary Tieche
Directed by Ryan Bergmann
Cast: Nikki Hahn, Donis Leonard, Jr., Austin Mincks, Susan Louise O’Connor, Emily Robinson, Ben Stillwell

A group of students build new connections through the ghostly influence of one of their own. With the help of an unlikely medium, saying goodbye might be easier than they think.

Dust Bunnies
By Caroline Chown, Age 18
Virginia Beach, VA
Mentored by Adam Belanoff
Directed by Angela Oh
Cast: Sean Durrie, Madylin Sweeten

A sweet bedside bunny and the surly dust from under the bed clash over who gets to care for the little girl they both love: one gets to stay and the other must say goodbye forever.

By Remi Mark, Age 18
Miami, FL
Mentored by Ellen Byron
Directed by Jesus Reyes
Cast: Izabella Alvarez, Isabella Gomez, Anamari Mesa

Three sisters come together to mourn the loss of their grandmother, each in their own way, and discover parts of their culture and themselves in one small box of memories.


View Week 2 Plays (Free Watch Code Required)

Program-Week 2 (PDF)

Blacktop Jungle
By Jared Goudsmit, Age 19
Kirkwood, MO
Mentored by Austin Winsberg
Directed by Richard Tatum
Cast: Fiona Gubelmann, Lenny Jacobson, Toks Olagundoye

Kindergarten noir-style can be brutal, especially when the prey becomes the predator.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting our Lord and Savior
By Bailey Jordan Garcia, Age 19
New York, NY
Mentored by Todd Milliner
Directed by Snehal Desai
Cast: David J Castillo, Benjamin Papac

Joey is confused when his boyfriend tells him they’re having a baby; but one knows more than he’s telling.

The Surly Bonds of Earth
By Maggie Munday Odom, Age 17
High Point, NC
Mentored by Aliza Goldstein
Directed by Michael Matthews
Cast: Sadie Calvano, Sydney Park

Two students who knew Christa McAuliffe, both directly and indirectly, grapple with unraveling their understanding of the world after the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.


View Week 3 Plays (Free Watch Code Required)

Program-Week 3 (PDF)

God on Vacation
By Brigitte Boisson, Age 16
Miami Gardens, FL
Mentored by Jonathan Tolins
Directed by Constance Zimmer
Cast: Deborah S. Craig, Matthew Scott Montgomery, Zeke Nicholson, Jen Richards, Ptolemy Slocum

When God goes on vacation, angels Gabriel and Michael are left in charge and make a bit of a mess of things.

China Doll in Lavender
By J. Xiang, Age 16
Fremont, CA
Mentored by Lauren Yee
Directed by Kate Jopson
Cast: Osric Chau, Jessica Lu, Angela Zhou

Walking backward in time through a dream, Rachel learns secrets about her Asian-American ancestors that help unlock who she really is today.

By Elizabeth Shannon, Age 16
Frederick, MD
Mentored by Kit Steinkellner
Directed by Laura Stribling
Cast: Madison McLaughlin, Jamie McRae, Sofia Unger

It’s the end of the world, and three sisters spend their last 15 minutes comforting each other the best way they know how: together.


View Week  4 Plays (Free Watch Code Required)

Program-Week 4 (PDF) 

Watch You’re Mouth

By Miya Matsumune, Age 15,  and Alyssa Ho, Age 16
Upland, CA and Pasadena, CA
Mentored by Michael John LaChiusa
Directed by David O
Cast: John Colella, Ian James, Stella Kim, Lesli Margherita, Diane Renee, Kayley Stallings

The Grammar Police are coming for anyone who doesn’t follow the rules in this exciting new musical.

Tiny Little Problems
By Jane Brinkley, Age 16
Eugene, OR
Mentored by Beth Bigler
Directed by June Carryl
Cast: Shannon Dang, Jessica Garza, Coral Pena, Cait Pool, Jazz Raycole

A group of competitive gymnasts look forward and backward in an attempt to understand the consequences of competing.

Viewer Discretion Advised
By Alethea Shirilan-Howlett, Age 17
Jamesville, NY
Mentored by Robert L. Freedman
Directed by Asaad Kelada
Cast: Bobbi Baker-James, Tyrel Jackson Williams, Jeff Witzke

A teen tries different tactics to break the veneer of his seemingly perfect family to make them understand how he feels.


View Week  5 Play (Free Watch Code Required)

Program-Week 5 (PDF)

By Zander Pryor, Age 17
Dallas TX

Mentored by Stephen Karam
Directed by Michael A. Shepperd
Cast: Ian Alexander, Major Curda, Vico Ortiz, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Romy Rosemont,
Peter James Smith, Ash Spencer

A delicately woven full-length play exploring the idea of “chosen family” for nonbinary, trans teens, and secret-holders, all trying to move forward with inclusion, love and self-forgiveness.

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

In the past 27 years, we’ve produced 332 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.

The Young Playwrights Festival is a 27 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 confidence.

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 31 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 will be presented at the LA City College Theatre Academy in Hollywood, CA in June.

Rehearsals also take place at The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre in Hollywood. The 12 winning plays are professionally produced for weekend-long runs.

As a result of winning YPF, these exciting writers all made their professional stage debuts in Los Angeles. Along with 332 others over the years.

DEADLINE: Plays or musicals must be submitted online,
e-mailed or postmarked by MARCH 15, 2020.

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

ELIGIBILITY: Playwrights must be 19 years old or younger on
March 15, 2020; co-written plays are allowed, provided all writers
meet age requirement.

CONTENT: Original plays or musicals on any subject and any length.

LIMIT: Up to 3 plays per playwright or playwright team.
FORMAT: All plays must have numbered script pages.

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 April 2020.

PERFORMANCE: Winning plays will be performed by professional actors at LA City College Theatre in June 2020.

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

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 332 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.

Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Department of Cultural Affairs – City of Los Angeles
Mitch O’Farrell, Councilmember 13TH District
Plum Foundation
Rosenthal Family Foundation
YPFuture Founding Members
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!