Each month during our 25th anniversary season, YPT will share a thoughtful reflection from a member of our YPT community. If you’d like to share how a single moment with YPT affected you as a former student, teaching artist, actor, staff member, supporter, volunteer or as any other role with YPT, please contact Teshonne Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Jorge Martinez and I was a part of [YPT’s Young Playwrights’ Workshop] (Workshop) from 2013 to 2017. I was also a part of the Young Playwrights’ Guild (Guild) for 1 year from 2016 to 2017. As a member of these programs, I was able to express myself creatively in an open and safe environment. To elaborate, as a member of Workshop I was a part of an ensemble of writers. We worked, laughed, played and endeavored together to create a play for us to perform at the end of the year. Guild, on the other hand, gave me the chance to shine more as an independent writer but still allowed me to have fun collaborating with my fellow members.
If I had to choose a moment that stands out to me most from my time with YPT, it’s definitely my first performance with Workshop. I still distinctly remember the brightness of the lights, my palms being sweaty and my heart racing. I was extremely nervous, but once it was time to get out there and perform, all of that melted away, and I just did it. The rush and satisfaction of performing has stuck with me ever since. In high school, I was a very reserved person who stuck to himself and didn’t dare to try new things, but putting myself out there on stage really gave me a new perspective and a newfound confidence. I’m not saying that I’m not still reserved as a person, because I definitely am. But I gained a ton of confidence to try new things, and I attribute a lot of it to that day.
I think that YPT is all about helping young people find their voices and themselves. Even if you don’t want to be a writer or an actor it still provided a means to grow as a person. The writing prompts provided in Workshop were relevant to what’s happening in the world and gave the students an opportunity to voice their opinions on these issues as well as hear other people’s opinions. Even if someone’s opinion differs, Workshop and YPT have a very non-judgemental environment that helps students feel safe to provide their opinions no matter how different they may be. In addition, the format of an ensemble and self-performing the writing allows students to try something new and put themselves out there. If for any reason you or someone you know wants to participate in YPT, I whole-heartedly recommend it. Some of my closest friends were made during my time in YPT and I still cherish the time I spent there.