Founded in 1995 by award-winning playwright Karen Zacarías, Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT) inspires young people to realize the power of their own voices. After earning an MFA in playwriting from Boston University, Karen returned to her hometown of Washington, DC in 1995. Karen knew she wanted to use her art to strengthen the community in which she grew up. Soon, she began to teach volunteer playwriting workshops in DC Public Schools. Seeing the positive impact playwriting had on students’ literacy skills, confidence and sense of empowerment, Karen was inspired to expand her work. The success of, and demand for, these dynamic playwriting workshops led Karen to incorporate YPT as a nonprofit in 1997.
Since Karen’s first playwriting workshop in 1995, YPT has impacted the lives of 20,000 underserved DC-area students and performed student-written plays for more than 90,000 audience members. Today, YPT centers and serves more than 1,000 students annually, empowering them to tell their stories through our In-School and Out-Of-School Time Playwriting Programs and reaches nearly 1,000 audience members through our Annual Performances Series of student-written work.