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

Kamilia Epps

Promising Playwright, March 2009

"If YPT hadn’t come into my classroom that day, I wouldn’t have this passion to write," Kamilia Epps said as she spoke to the audience after her play For Which It Stands was presented at New Writers Now!

Kamilia wrote her play in 2005, as part of YPT’s In-School Playwriting Program at Bell Multicultural High School. She is now a college student and contract employee for the Department of Labor and was thrilled to see her work performed by professional actors. "I felt like a god in a sense, just sitting there seeing something that I have created being brought to life," Kamilia says. "Not to mention the actors performed the characters exactly the way I imagined them, or better."
For Which It Stands unpacks the American idea of Manifest Destiny in sophisticated and surprising ways.  Kamilia explores the concept of US expansion through such diverse and historical characters as Chief Seattle, James Polk, and fugitive slave Anthony Burns, as well as Northern and Southern soldiers and Mexican citizens.  "I liked the idea of being able to use the arts to illustrate an issue that has transcended through time. So, playwriting has helped me to express myself in a creative way; thinking beyond the facts and asking, 'what if?'" Kamilia says.
As she researched Manifest Destiny, Kamilia herself says that she became "a bit obsessed. My parents thought I was like a mad scientist."
"In the next few years, I hope to have written something else that gains some sort of attention," Kamilia says.  She advises other young playwrights, "If you’re afraid to write, you’re afraid to think. Writing is just bringing everything within your head to the paper and pad."
To see more pictures of Kamilia and her play click here.
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