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

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Meet YPT's 25th Anniversary Gala Awardees


2020 Giving Voice Awardee
Molly Smith, Artistic Director of The Mead Center for American Theater, Home of Arena Stage, Washington, DC

The Giving Voice Award recognizes individuals in the DC community who have made a significant impact in theater and supporting youth voice in the performing arts.

Molly Smith has served as Artistic Director [The Mead Center for American Theater, Home of Arena Stage] since 1998. In the span of her illustrious career of over 30 years, Molly Smith has championed American theater and supported the development of new and original plays. You can learn more about Molly Smith at




2020 Inaugural Pete Hall Awardee
Thembi Duncan, Director of Arts Engagement and Education, Shea's Performing Arts Center, Buffalo, NY

The Pete Hall Award was created in the Fall of 2019 to honor the memory of Young Playwrights' Theater alumnus and student playwright Pete Hall. Pete Hall died in an auto accident last summer while studying screenwriting at California State University, Northridge. As a YPT student, Pete touched the hearts of everyone at YPT, including teaching artists, staff, fellow students and audience members. Similarly, the Pete Hall Award honors an individual whose work has impacted Young Playwrights' Theater in culture, community and vision. 

Thembi Duncan (she/her/hers) currently serves at the Director of Arts Engagement and Education at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, NY. She also served as Creative Programs Director of Young Playwrights' Theater. You can learn more about Thembi Duncan at