Young Playwrights for Change

Join us for Young Playwrights for Change 2018:

Rise Up: Fighting for Love and Inclusion in the face of Hatred and Bigotry

Young Playwrights for Change is a national middle school playwriting competition run by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE). The mission of Young Playwrights for Change is to produce meaningful conversations that will ripple across our nation to provoke change. The goal is to spark conversation and discussion throughout classrooms, schools, and communities.

Open to students in grades 6-9. Yep, that’s right! This year includes grade 9! Students should submit their play to Laurie Riffe, Director of Artistic Programming at DreamWrights. You may submit via email at, by mailing, or drop off your play in person: 100 Carlisle Avenue, York PA 17401.

Deadline for play submission is January 8, 2018.

PLAY SUBMISSION RULES: Please Read Carefully!
1. Plays must be the original work of the playwright and not an adaptation of pre-existing work.
2. Scripts may not be co-authored.
3. Playwrights may revise their plays after they are selected by a host organization to be submitted to the National Competition, and they may receive coaching from the host organization on those revisions.
4. Completed scripts must be no longer than 10 minutes when read aloud.
5. Scripts may have up to, but no more than six characters.
6. Scripts must be typed.


Rise Up: Fighting for Love and Inclusion in the face of Hatred and Bigotry

Young Playwrights for Change is looking for plays that explore what is means to show compassion, share empathy and become a positive force in one’s community. How do we as people address the divides that separate us and causes of so much animosity in our world? Hatred and bigotry are aggressive attitudes and beliefs that greatly impact the lives of so many who live in our country. Often times they are formed on the basis of misinformation or lack of empathy. We are asking young playwrights to share their stories about how people have and can overcome their fears of being marginalized and targeted because of who they are.

Your play could address the experiences of …
Kids who bully or who are bullied
Kids who are intolerant of individual differences or those who appreciate differences in others
Kids who have an experience that help them understand someone who is different from them
Kids from different groups who learn to understand and appreciate one another
Kids who have learned hatred and bigotry from the example of adults around them and reject it
Kids who celebrate their own differences or celebrate the uniqueness of others
Kids who speak out against hatred and bigotry
Kids who try to return kindness and understanding for rudeness and intolerance
Kids who have lived in times and place in which hatred and bigotry have been accepted by society and have resisted and fought against the attitudes of the majority

Your play could focus on groups of people or individuals who are subject to hatred and bigotry because of one or more of the following:
Ethnicity, particularly when the ethnic group is a minority in the community or school Disability, which may be physical, mental, or emotional
Gender/Sexual Identity, particularly those who identify as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/ Questioning) or are believed to be LGBTQ
Religion or Belief System, particularly when those who adhere to a religion or belief system are a minority in the school or community
Political Beliefs or Affiliations, particularly when it is a minority view

STYLE: We are looking for plays that are …
Creative – Although we are looking for plays that deal honestly with the subjects of love, inclusion, hate, and bigotry, they do not have to be realistic in style. Plays could feature animals or fantasy creatures as characters, for instance, and could be set in worlds other than our own.
Appropriate – We want plays that address these issues seriously, but they must be appropriate for
middle-school audiences to read, see, and perform. Please, no profanity or offensive material.

Having trouble getting started on your script? Suffering from writer’s block? Read on for some quick tips and strategies to get inspired or keep your creativity going.

Elements To Think About
Theme – Think about the theme of fighting for love and inclusion and how your play will address the theme. Is there a particular aspect of hate or bigotry you want to address—peer pressure, intolerance, physical or verbal bullying?
Setting – Where is your play set? At a school? In your community? In the future or the past? In outer space? Get creative—your play can be set anywhere!
Characters – You can have up to six characters in your play. Who are the characters you’re working with? How do they feel about one another? What do they want? What are they afraid of? How do they feel about themselves? Interesting characters have thoughts, feelings, reactions to situations, and sometimes are unpredictable. Do the characters change over the course of your play?
Plot – What happens to your characters over the course of your play? Is there a beginning, a middle, and an end?
What is the central conflict or event in your play?

Brainstorming and Getting Started
Create a “portrait” of your main character by making a list of words that describes her or him. Be as specific as possible.
Try writing about a character’s, worst day, or their favorite song, biggest fear, most treasured possession,
person they admire, or a question they would ask another character
Outlining or mapping out your story or plot before you actually start writing your script is a great way to begin.
Try a written outline, or use a different strategy.
Try telling the story of what happens in your play to a friend or family member and repeat this a couple of
different times so you get the feel for the important events you’re imagining.
Create a storyboard with text and/or images, or even some kind of map. Use drawings, symbols, or doodles to represent events, characters, etc.
Or, try putting key scenes on separate sheets of paper and practice laying them out in different orders to experiment with the sequence of events.

What If I Get Stuck While Writing?
Go back and read aloud what you have written so far. Sometimes reading out loud can give you fresh perspective or new ideas!
Stuck on a particular scene or detail? Skip ahead or go back! Sometimes the order of your plot or sequence of events in your play is not the order in which you write your script.
Find a friend or family member to read your work and give you some feedback.
Take a break! Get up from the computer, take a stretch break, eat a snack, take a walk or just do something else for a little while. Then come back to your script with some fresh eyes.

The 2016 Playwrights for DreamWrights’ Young Playwrights for Change

Deadline for play submission is
January 8, 2018.

Please submit to Laurie Riffe, Director of Artistic Programming, DreamWrights
via email:
via mail: 100 Carlisle Ave., York, PA  17401
or deliver in person

Questions along the way?
Don’t hesitate to contact Laurie
at 717-848-8623 x226