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

Lila Benavente

Promising Playwright, April 2018

"...just be yourself, and that’s how you’re gonna accomplish anything that you want to do.”

At Mundo Verde Public Charter School, YPT’s After-School Playwriting Program finds cool ways to connect performance and writing. Mundo Verde 4th grader Lila Benavente is a proud playwright/performer in YPT Teaching Artist Mr. Jonathan’s workshop. Right now, she has teamed up with two other playwrights to write a play about two sisters and a bad behaving friend who comes between them. Because Lila and her cohorts are also performing the play, part of the inspiration for the characters came from their own personalities as people.

“Well, we were mostly just thinking, like, what we could do with how we are and how we could look, or what we enjoy doing,” explains Lila. “The two girls I’m writing with are like sisters. And I enjoy playing the bad person ... not because I like being bad, but because it makes me feel more like an actor when I’m acting like something that I’m not.”

Lila is no stranger to writing. She’s written plays before and also writes songs and poetry in her spare time. In fact, one of her favorite things to do is sing.

“I like to sing,” says Lila. “That is one of my favorite things ever, and I play soccer.”

In fact, Lila wants to pursue acting and singing when she grows up, and she values what she has learned as both a writer and as a performer in YPT’s After-School Playwriting Program. When asked to give one word that best describes YPT’s workshop with Mr. Jonathan, Lila said: “Extraordinary.”

“Mr. Jonathan is very creative, and he always knows exactly what we’re gonna do. He’s very good at acting, and he’s very talented,” Lila explains. “And he makes sure that we are having fun while he makes sure that we are also paying attention at the same time. So, it’s not the same as other classes, but it also kinda is the same.”

As a budding writer and performer herself, Lila advised that those interested in the dramatic arts use who they are to find inspiration.

“Just think about the person that you are, to start with,” advises Lila. “And then you just think ‘oh, what kind of thing would I want to be,’ like an alter ego or something that you wouldn’t want to be at all. And you could try seeing which one you’d feel more comfortable with or would like to try doing. Based off of that, you think of names, story, place. Like all that is just based off of yourself.”

All in all, Lila has a positive outlook on her future as a performer and a writer and believes anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it!

“For anyone that is going to be reading this, I just would like to say to just be yourself, and that’s how you’re gonna accomplish anything that you want to do.”