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



Dachauna Johnson
Promising Playwright, June 2016

“Believe in your dreams and ... try out new things: you may find something you never thought you could do.”


Dachauna Johnson doesn’t advertise her many talents: she just lets them shine through in her life. The day after the incoming McKinley Tech ninth grader performed in The Young Playwrights’ Workshop Presents: Who Am I? Who Are You?, she stood up at Cardozo Education Campus’s eighth grade graduation—to give the valedictorian speech.

“I was pretty nervous,” she says, adding that her experience in the Young Playwrights’ Workshop helped her manage her stage fright. Her nerves were ratcheted up even more later in the ceremony, when she and her friend sang “I Believe I Can Fly”—before the school gave her its Music Award.

Dachauna’s talents come as no surprise to anyone who knows her. The soft-spoken, intelligent teen shows a deep understanding of the world and the human experience. Her favorite subject is science, and she already plans to pursue it in college and beyond. “I like how it ties into life and how it began,” she says.

In the Workshop, too, Dachauna saw the characters her peers were creating and devised hers as a foil to them. “Their characters were all down, so I was thinking about making the opposite, making a more ‘up’ person.” Though her character, Veronica, is very different from her, Dachauna thought through Veronica’s “past, her present and the way she carries herself,” and captured her peppiness and underlying vulnerability beautifully in Who Am I? Who Are You?.

Despite her creative prowess, until recently Dachauna did not think of herself as a writer. “[Before YPT] I did not like writing at all ... it wasn’t really my thing,” she says. “[Now,] I feel like I’ve been good at writing my whole life!

Though Dachauna is not yet sure whether she will be able to return to the Workshop, she’ll carry YPT’s lessons with her forever. “YPT helps a lot and guides you,” she reflects. We hope to see Dachauna again, and know that her talents will guide her to great heights!