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

Dakota Dannett

Promising Playwright, July 2015

“I love YPT because I like all the activities that they do, and all the creative things.”

Dakota Dannett paces back and forth in the theater at Sitar Arts Center, muttering to herself and gesturing wildly. No, she’s not conversing with her imaginary friend—she’s writing dialogue for her play, imagining what her characters would say to each other and embodying their behavior. Clearly, this talented, vivacious young playwright has so much to say that she just can’t keep it all bottled up.

“I love writing,” attests the incoming fifth grader at Inspired Teaching Public Charter School. “[Ideas] just come into my head.”

A fan of fantasy and adventure fiction, Dakota’s first big idea was a story called Revenge, in which a young girl has to unravel the mystery of who killed her parents while taking on a shadowy group with a dragon symbol. Now enrolled in YPT’s Playwriting & Performance Drama Intensive at Camp Sitar, she is tackling another kind of adventure: two sisters trapped on an island, living in a treehouse and escaping tigers while trying to find their way home. Dakota doesn’t know what’s going to happen, but she does know how the play will end...a twist we wouldn’t dare reveal here.

When she’s not writing stories or plays, Dakota is as busy as can be. She likes soccer and wants to learn tennis; has performed Shakespeare and the Wizard of Oz with her acting class; ran a 5k with Girls on the Run and used to be a competitive cheerleader, traveling as far as Virginia Beach for tournaments. “Whenever I get home I just lay on the couch and, ‘Aaaah,’” she sighs.

Busy or not, Dakota shows no signs of stopping. Before enrolling in YPT’s workshop, she took Computer Lab at Camp Sitar, where she enjoyed designing games and interviewing actors in Sitar’s production of Hairspray. Ultimately, she envisions all her skills coming together for one purpose: “I can make my own movies! ...I’ll be the main character,” she adds with a smile.

We have no doubt about that—and any movie Dakota Dannett is in is a movie we want to see!