Young Playwrights' Theater inspires young
people to realize the power of their own voices.


 New Play Festival

The New Play Festival is an annual celebration of bold new voices.

Each year Young Playwrights’ Theater honors plays from a diverse group of YPT students in a production that celebrates the playwright’s craft.

Professional actors, dramaturges and directors collaborate with student writers to create an evening of dynamic theater. 

YPT is proud to honor the bold, gritty and bright new voices of young writers.

Objective:  The New Play Festival celebrates and honors the work of our young playwrights.
"It's My Life, in My Own Words I Guess..." - The Helen Villegas Documentary
By iCD Productions

In the spring of 2014, documentary filmmakers at Corcoran College of Art + Design produced a short film on one of our 2014 New Play Festival Featured Playwrights, Helen Villegas. 

Helen, a student at Bell Multicultural High School, had written a stirring play called It's My Life, in My Own Words I Guess... that our company performed on Night Three of the New Play Festival. The film premiered shortly thereafter!

We are incredibly proud of Helen and excited to share her work in this way. Without further ado, we present "It's My Life, in My Own Words I Guess..." - the documentary of Helen Villegas!



Special thanks to Benjamin Katz and the iCD Productions team for creating this beautiful film.

2014 New Play Festival 

A celebration of bold new voices

Monday, April 28, 2014, at 7pm
Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at 7pm
Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at 7pm
GALA Hispanic Theatre
3333 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20010



Join us as we celebrate and honor new work created by students in YPT’s In-School Playwriting Program. Out of more than 900 eligible plays, these 15 playwrights distinguished themselves with their imaginative and compelling scripts.

On April 28, join us for a family-friendly evening of whimsical and hilarious new plays from our elementary school students, featuring superhero dogs, talking cats and trucks battling cars! On April 29, we will premiere five middle school plays, tackling subjects such as families in peril and evil demon librarians. On April 30, we will present powerful, transformative works from our high school playwrights. Plays on April 29 recommended for ages 13 and up; plays on April 30 recommended for ages 16 and up.

Call 202-387-9173 for more information.

Funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Major support also provided by the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs (OLA),  the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, the Harman Family Foundation, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development - New Communities Initiative, Wells Fargo, the Washington Post Company and Acumen Solutions.

Official media sponsor: WAMU 88.5 FM



2014 Featured Playwrights and Plays

April 28

For a full album of photographs from April 28, click here!


Joshua and his dog, Buddy, are the best of friends. But when the evil Serpent comes to take Buddy away, they must fight the biggest battle they've ever fought! Can a superpower potion help them stop Serpent before it's too late? Find out in Joshua Brown's The Bestest Friends and The Biggest Battle!

Joshua is in the fifth grade at Bancroft Elementary School.


When mean Dr. Destiny steals Flora-Ruth’s magical stuffed cat, Flora-Ruth will stop at nothing to get Big Kitty back. In doing so, can she save Dr. Destiny too, or will he forever remain The Torn Captor? Find out in Josephine Crittenden’s hilarious and exciting play!

Josephine is in the fifth grade at Watkins Elementary School.





Nevaeh Edwards’ Diamond of Destiny brings the battle for Planets Vertex and Lexaton to Earth, when five sisters fight their mother for the safety of humankind. Talk about a family feud!

Nevaeh is in the fifth grade at Amidon Bowen Elementary School.





Environmentalist Zhallay will do whatever it takes to save the endangered animals of Mt. Kilimanjaro from the bloodthirsty Butcher. Will she and her pet Monkey find the magic potion to free the hawks? Find out in Zaynab Ewing-Boyd’s The World Is Almost Ruined!

Zaynab is a third grade student at Stokes Elementary School.





Track supremacy takes on a new meaning in Durall Townes’ The Battle of the Truck and the Car. Who reigns supreme, Speedy the sports car or Monster Mobile the monster truck? One race will decide it all. The tortoise and the hare this ain’t!

Durall is in the fourth grade at Plummer Elementary School.






April 29

For a full album of photographs from April 29, click here!


What really goes on inside your refrigerator when you shut the door? Isaiah Dorsey answers that age-old question with Broccoli Man, a hilarious tale of good vs. evil and veggies vs. chocolate!

Isaiah is in the sixth grade at KIPP DC: AIM Academy.





Cindy Mendoza’s The “Courage” I “Had” is a play about growing up and moving on, about fathers and sons, about new friends and new beginnings. Watch Thomas and his Dad start the next chapter of their lives in this touching family tale.

Cindy is in the eighth grade at Lincoln Middle School.





Eva is in the eighth grade at Swanson Middle School.




Tyrone is the greatest thief alive, who will steal anything from cash to diamonds to pizza. Detective Zack (or is it Jack?) has dedicated his life to bringing Tyrone to justice. Who will triumph in Kenneth Tillman’s clever caper: the Detective or The Thief?

Kenneth is in the eighth grade at Walker Jones Educational Campus.





In Liam Wells’ The Contest, best friends and science buffs Jake and Riley compete for bragging rights and a scholarship to Stanford University. Find out what happens when “friendly competition” goes a bit too far!

Liam Wells is in the eighth grade at Swanson Middle School.





April 30

For a full album of photographs from April 30, click here!


Davon Green’s Death of an Attractive Thief is the riveting tale of Messiah, a high school gang member who finds himself on the wrong side of the law. Will love redeem him, or will he be “just another black dude that didn’t make it past 21?"

Davon is in the Twilight Program at Anacostia High School.

Davon is also our Promising Playwright for April - read our piece on him here!




To Malcolm, a seventeen year old who rarely leaves his house, the whole outside world is a Wonderland. But when he finally slips free from his overbearing mother, will he find what he’s looking for? Find out in Vivian Hong’s dramatic play.

Vivian is in the eleventh grade at Yorktown High School.





Who killed Elizabeth Thorne? That is the question at the heart of Tatyana Russell’s supernatural thriller, The Thorne Secret. This one will have you on the edge of your seat all the way through the shocking conclusion!

Tatyana is in the tenth grade at Bell Multicultural High School.





Hailie, the seven-year-old hero of Helen Villegas’ It’s My Life, in My Own Words I Guess…, has to grow up fast. Follow her struggles to keep her family together amid alcoholism and mistreatment in this challenging but ultimately uplifting play.

Helen is in the tenth grade at Bell Multicultural High School.





It’s prom night in Makayla Wrenn’s Beautiful Nightmare, and teenager Jenny’s secret crush shows up on her doorstep to whisk her away for a romantic evening. Is this a dream come true, or something more sinister?

Makayla is in the tenth grade at Ballou High School.




Mariana's Wish by Mariana Pavon Sanchez
New Play Festival 2010

Past New Play Festivals

To see photos, video and information on past New Play Festivals follow the links below.


New Play Festival 2013







New Play Festival 2012





New Play Festival 2011







New Play Festival 2010







New Play Festival 2009







New Play Festival 2008






New Play Festival 2007





To view production history prior to 2007, click here.