Young Playwrights Program

Serving the next generation of creative thinkers

The Young Playwrights Program (YPP) is ACT Theatre’s flagship arts residency program. It pairs professional playwrights and theater artists with classroom teachers to engage middle and high school students in a 10-week intensive program that includes drama and improv exercises, creative writing prompts, and supportive feedback sessions. By the end of YPP, each student completes the first draft of an original, one-act play.

YPP aligns with Washington State Learning Standards for the Arts, cultivates opportunity for enriching peer-level support and feedback, and enhances confidence in creative problem solving, writing, and self-expression.

Some schools we partner with also showcase the plays by presenting in-school assemblies or special evening presentations that feature the work of the students, performed and/or directed by peers. Other plays are selected for the Young Playwrights Festival at ACT Theatre.

“This program has really helped me to find out more about myself. The more I write, I discover connections between each piece and that’s when I realize, wow, this is what I’m interested in, this is who I am.”

Si Jia Yu, Roosevelt High School

Benefits for students

  • Relevant, useful writing skills.
  • The YPP teaches students to express themselves through writing and tell a dramatic story with a beginning, middle and end.
  • ACT’s YPP endows students with tools for self-expression in a safe environment.
  • Reading fluency and public speaking.
  • Becoming a confident speaker and a fluent reader is a major part of the YPP curriculum.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
  • Theatre brings out talents that aren’t often discovered in a typical classroom. The YPP incorporates theatre games with writing exercises breaking students away from a sedentary routine.

How YPP works with school partners

  • ACT works closely with each school partner. We tailor our curriculum to meet the needs of students in independent, public, and alternative schools, as well as students with special needs and students considered “at-risk.”
  • YPP Teaching Artists work with classroom teachers to ensure that the program meets students’ needs and academic expectations.
  • YPP Teaching Artists do not assign grades to individual students. They do provide feedback to students and communicate with the classroom teacher weekly about individual student progress.
  • YPP curriculum can be integrated into existing English or Drama curriculum or offered as an after-school activity.
  • Work written by students can be shared as an in-school or after school event. Contact ACT Theatre for suggestions or partnership in this process.

For additional information:
Contact ACT’s Education & Engagement Manager, Tracy Hyland at or (206) 292-7660 x 1227

YPP Information Sheet

Looking for other ways to support YPP?

Support YPP with a donation to ACT or by purchasing the 2017 PLAY Anthology.