Celebrating its 26th Anniversary this year, The Blank Theatre’s Annual Young Playwrights Festival is now seeking submissions nationwide from playwrights 19 years of age and younger. The submission deadline is March 15, 2018. Winning plays will be presented by professional actors and directors in June of this year at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

young playwrights festival los angeles theatre

The Blank Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival is a nationwide competition that produces the work of 12 young writers each year. Since 1993, the festival has produced 308 plays by playwrights 19 and younger from 34 states.

Each winning play will have four performances in a weekend run. The productions are made possible in part by grants from The Plum Foundation, The Rosenthal Family Foundation, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

The rules for the festival competition are as follows:

  • Playwrights must be 19 years of age or younger on March 15, 2018
  • Original plays and musicals can be any length, on any subject
  • Scripts must be legible and pages must be numbered and unbound
  • Submissions may be made online at theblank.submittable.com or hard copies mailed to YPF, c/o The Blank Theatre, PO Box 1094, Los Angeles, CA, 90078 (and must be postmarked or emailed by March 15, 2018)
  • There is a limit of three (3) plays per playwright
  • All plays must include a cover sheet with the play’s title, playwright’s name, date of birth, school (if any), mailing address, contact phone number, e-mail address and the play’s production history (if any)

Each playwright whose work is accepted will be assigned a mentor: professionals who will help the youngsters hone their work for performance. Past mentors have included Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, Tony Award-nominated composer Michael John LaChiusa, writer Jeff Greenstein (Will & Grace), producer Todd Milliner (Hot in Cleveland, Grimm), writer Irene Mecchi (The Lion King, Brave), Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer (Dear Evan Hansen, Spring Awakening), the late television and film director Garry Marshall, and many others. The playwrights then experience the thrill of seeing their plays performed by industry professionals in fully staged productions.

Said Daniel Henning, Founding Artistic Director of The Blank, “Each Spring for the past 25 years, The Blank has found the freshest, most original voices in the American theatre, invited them to Los Angeles, and promoted their work during a month-long festival in June. This thought provoking work, performed and directed by seasoned professionals, has entertained thousands of audience members over the years. While these authors are often as different as the states from which they come and the subjects with which they deal, they share something truly improbable. They’re teenagers.” Henning continued, “These are not only the voices of today’s theatre — they are the voices of tomorrow’s as well.”

Through the years, many of the winning plays have been nominated for LA theatre awards, including an Ovation Award for Best Writing—World Premiere, and an LA Weekly Award for Best One-Act Playwriting. Many alumni playwrights are populating the nation’s theatres and sound stages with their work. Many YPF winners have gone on to successful writing careers on Broadway, are filling regional stages, and have created network TV shows.

Alumnus Stephen Karam has been a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and is a Tony Award-winner for Best Play of the 2016 Broadway season for The Humans. Alumnus Lauren Yee had her play King of the Yees produced by The Goodman Theatre, Center Theatre Group, ACT Theatre, and Canada’s National Arts Theatre.

 

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