Young Playwrights Festival

On May 22 at The New Vic, audiences were treated to the creative work of 9 local writers ages 12-18 that included Nicolas Crawford, Sonia Flathman,  Kaede “Kai” Giesbrecht,  Olivia Miller, Tessa “Tree” Payne, Lily Tucker, Kai Yakushko, Diana Ybarra and Abigail Sarai Zurita-Ramirez.


This was the culmination 18 weeks of education, exploration, evolution and entertainment.  We are so proud of these aspiring writers for sharing and entrusting us with their vulnerability and unique voice. With stories that ranged from the search for happiness to the painful process of healing and overcoming diversity, it was a night to remember. We celebrate each of the students from this years festival and wish them continued success. 


The festival, which featured over 30 artists that consisted of professional playwrights, directors and actors was filmed by Minh Tran, and will be available online for public enjoyment.  To receive an email notification with the viewing link please use the form below to register. 

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 which is subsequently produced and staged with professional directors and actors for public audiences. There is no cost to apply or participate. 


PLEASE NOTE: Due to the unpredictability of the current pandemic, we will begin this program online with the hope of having the final presentation in person. 


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 3 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 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
  •  Write reflectively from a designated theme
  •  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 Sunday January 31, 2021. 
  • Applicants must be ages 13-19 and a Santa Barbara County resident.
  • YPF will accept up to 20 students for this program.
  • Applicants will be notified by February 1, 2021.

This program is sponsored by

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