Young Playwrights Festival

This year, our festival will feature original short plays, scenes, and monologues written by local high school students including 20 emergent multilingual students from San Marcos High School who have recently joined our community. 

TICKETS ARE FREE. Please be sure to reserve your seats in advance! 

The development of story-tellers for the future of the American Theater may be one of the most valuable educational programs that the ETC can offer the Santa Barbara community. The Young Playwrights Festival is a 4-month-long program that gives young writers a safe and nurturing forum from which to create a 10-minute play that is subsequently produced and staged with professional directors and actors for public audiences. There is no cost to apply or participate. 


Students who complete the Young Playwright Festival program will receive multiple and varied opportunities to develop their creativity and gain artistic skills. Phase One includes 2 hours a week of classroom instruction focusing on the fundamentals of playwriting, the evolution of playwriting in American theater, and essential principles of drama. Students will engage in writing exercises, theater games, and creative exploration. At the completion of this first phase, students will have completed a rough draft of a 10-minute play. Phase Two provides one-on-one guidance from a professional playwright to help students during the revision process. Phase Three gives students the opportunity to collaborate with a professional theater director to cast and produce staged readings of the plays for the public. After each play is performed the playwright participates in an on-stage Q&A session with the audience.


Throughout the YPF program, students will:

  • Learn the basic principles of dramatic composition for live stage performance
  • Execute a range of assigned playwriting exercises considered essential to drama
  • Compose original scenes and 10-minute plays
  • Develop knowledge of dramatic literature and theory and discuss sample plays by experienced writers
  • Create characters through dialogue, action and objectives
  • Understand the concepts of Exposition, Rhythm, and Dramatic Tension
  • Research, gather, and synthesize information from a variety of sources and present it in a structured, coherent manner, both in writing and orally
  • Learn how to effectively communicate creative ideas
  • Develop the ability to critique and analyze a variety of peer-generated writing, and the ability to receive and synthesize critiques of their own writing from peers and faculty
  • Develop collaborative skills with peers and other theater artists

Application Process

  • All applications must be received by December 15, 2022. 
  • Applicants must be ages 14-19 and a Santa Barbara County resident.
  • YPF will accept up to 20 students for this program.
  • Applicants will be notified by December 20, 2022.

This program is sponsored by

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