Young Playwrights Inc. takes the time and energy to write serious assessments of an entrant's play. As a parent of a young playwright, I was amazed by the degree of effort and professionalism the organization's personnel paid to my daughter's work. The feeling of confidence a young person gets when he or she reads an industry pro's review of his of her work ...especially the professionals from Young Playwright's Inc. ...is like nothing else. You won't believe it until you see it. Viva Young Playwrights Inc.!
Young Playwrights changed my son's live in a profound way. He was accepted to the Urban Retreat last summer. It was the first time he was away from his family, but he went--all by himself--to Manhattan for a week and a half.
Did he survive? He FLOURISHED! He found friends from all over the country, who shared his passion for witing and the theatre. He found not only acceptance, but praise from the people who run Young Playwrights.
He was able to work with professional actors, directors, dramaturgs and writers. They were able to take his raw talent, and channel it into a path that will serve him for the rest of his life. The confidence that he found after the Urban Retreat has helped every facet of his life. He is much more focused and confident at school--with other students and with teachers. He decided to double up his Junior and Senior years, and will be spending next year in Thailand, as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. He would NEVER have dreamed of such a thing had he not found Young Playwrights Inc.
He has since won competitions, and will be attending a college with a great writing/theater program. He already plans on applying to Julliard for graduate school.
Young Playwrights Inc. has done something rare and special for my son. They changed the trajectory of his dreams. They lifted his gaze from the ground under his feet up to the stars. His life will never be the same.
I first came into contact with Young Playwrights Inc. as a high school student, when my drama teacher encouraged me to submit a play I had written to their national playwriting competition. I did not win, but I was excited to receive a page of written feedback congratulating me on the strong points of my play and suggesting areas for improvement. I was thrilled to know that someone, somewhere, had read my play and really thought about it.
I kept writing, and two years later I was invited to attend Young Playwrights Inc.'s Young Playwrights Conference in January 2011. In the months leading up to the conference, I was matched with a dramaturg (Brian Bauman) who helped me to revise my play and opened my eyes to its full potential. It's always great to work with people who inspire you to be a better writer, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with a playwright whose work I admire. Once I arrived at the conference, began work with a director (Kim Kefgen) who had fantastic ideas for how to get my play on its feet. The best way to learn about directing, in my opinion, is by watching other directors work, so I definitely appreciate the experience. The conference was also a great opportunity to see theater that was sort of "off the map" and really opened my eyes to the full potential of what can be done onstage. Furthermore, and possibly most importantly, the conference setup fosters camaraderie among the playwrights who attend - our group quickly bonded over the course of the week and we all still talk and try to support each other's work as much as we can. Sometimes, being a young playwright can be lonely - Young Playwrights Inc. brings us together and shows us we're not alone in our pursuits and our creativity.
However, my connection to the company didn't end there. In the Fall of 2011, I began an internship at Young Playwrights Inc. because I was interested in learning what made a theater company focused on working with young people tick. About two months into my internship, the office was destroyed in an electrical fire (they have since moved into an amazing new space). With a conference to prepare for and entries already arriving for the next year's competition, there was no time to sit around and mope - instead, everyone got right back to work. I delivered and picked up scripts from all over the city to make sure that the competition judging didn't get behind schedule, and was even asked to write evaluations for some of the plays - the same kind of feedback that I had been so excited to receive when I was sixteen.
Young Playwrights Inc. is a company that truly embodies the adage "the show must go on." Furthermore, the support they show for their current playwrights and alumni is incredible - once you're in, you're family. My experiences with their programs as a young playwright have forever shaped me as an artist, and I will always value the skills I learned as an intern trying to "give back" to the company that gave me so much.