At Young Playwrights' Theatre young peoples' voices count. But finding those voices takes some serious work: reading, writing, editing, revising; listening, comprehending, speaking; improving vocabulary, working on grammar, honing that spelling--all these are key to the process of finding the writer inside. So what's the motivation? At YPT it's knowing that self expression means power--the power to create worlds and share those worlds with others, to turn monologues and scenes into real plays, to see the best of those plays produced and performed for others--at schools, nursing homes, and performing arts centers--to learn that "playwright" is a word that might indeed mean "me."
Younger children meet after school, transforming into literature the issues facing their neighborhoods. High school students participate in a program that is woven into the curriculum, working with significant artists (like Helen Hayes award winner and founder/artistic director Karen Zacarias) and then taking the best of their work on the Youth or Dare Tour. Literacy improves, language becomes an important tool for conflict resolution, at-risk youth gain access to the arts, and student performance in school improves. "Writing can change you," says one YPT student playwright, "and it can change others, too." Now isn't that a vision worth nourishing?
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