Young Playwrights’ Theater inspires young people to realize the power of their own voices.
By teaching students to express themselves through the art of playwriting, YPT develops students’ language skills, and empowers them with the creativity, confidence and critical thinking skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. YPT honors its students by involving them in a high-quality artistic process where they feel simultaneously respected and challenged and by engaging professional theater artists in producing student plays for the community.
YPT was founded in 1995 by award-winning playwright Karen Zacarías. In 1995, Karen returned from Boston University to her hometown of Washington, DC with an MFA in playwriting and a desire to use her art to positively impact her community. Karen began volunteering her time teaching playwriting workshops in DC classrooms, and, by 1997, her workshops were so successful that she incorporated YPT as a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
More than twenty years later, YPT has grown substantially. Under the guidance of Executive Director Brigitte Winter, YPT developed our ambitious Dream Impact Map, an innovative tool to guide strategic, neighborhood-based growth in underserved areas where students have the least access to arts education. YPT now employs 8 full-time and 2 part-time staff members, 20 professional teaching artists and dozens of professional actors, directors and designers to support YPT’s work onstage and in the classroom. Each year, YPT serves 1,500 students with free in-school and after-school playwriting workshops, and nearly 1,000 audience members through professional productions of student-written work.