Thursday, May 23, 2019

Young Playwrights for Change: What if I win?

The Youth Winner Experience & More with Ernie Nolan

The Young Playwrights for Change competition is just around the corner and with it being a competition, naturally we’re all dying to know what happens to the winner. Ernie Nolan answers that question and more about the Young Playwrights for Change project. If you weren’t thinking about joining the competition before, you will after you see what’s in the works.


What excites you about Young Playwrights for Change in this upcoming year?

I am thrilled any time young people are involved in theatre. What excites me most is the messaged that is also involved in this project. There’s only so much us adult types can do and say. Eventually, it has to come from young people, peer to peer. I think that’s what I really love. As a playwright, I can imagine a way how to communicate or hypothesize a story that young people want to hear, but with these plays this is the real deal. I love that!

What sort of initial response did you receive to the initiative’s launch at One Theatre World this past May?

In addition to reaching young people, I think that the topic of bullying is very close to theatre artists. Feeling like an outsider is a very powerful, memorable feeling. So helping and reaching young people, so that someone doesn’t feel alone or isn’t made to feel alone, that’s really exciting to think that we have the power to touch young people in that way.

Can you explain what your role has been in this process and has it changed?

During the early stages, I was more involved with what Dramatic Change would be. Now, it is different. My TYA responsibilities have made me change my role. In my present capacity I’m responsible for planning how the winning play will be read at the Kennedy Center and how we will further the project into the next national conference. I love being a part of those decisions.

What to you is the most important aspect of this project for TYA/USA and AATE as a collaborative effort and what is most important for the young playwrights from an educational and theatrical perspective?

I think it’s great that two organizations (professional and educational) can come together about something that is important to each. I can’t wait to see how these plays turn out. I think we’re going to see and read and situations that we can’t even imagine. Playwriting helps young people think outside the box and creatively problem solve. Bullying is definitely a problem that needs some creative solutions.

How is a winner chosen/what is the selection/review process for the submitted scripts?

A committee of professionals is going to read all of the plays and select the finalists as well as the winner.

How many winners are selected at each level (State/Regional/National)?

Each state/regional competition will each send one winner to the National Competition.  At least 10 National winners will have their scripts made available to teachers to use in the classroom.  AND One talented playwright will get their script read at the Kennedy Center.

kennedy center

What will the winner(s) receive? What happens with their work?

The winner will have their play read by professionals at the TYA USA preconference to the New Visions/New Voices symposium.


What will be the most exciting part of the experience for the selected national winner?

I think hearing others read their play. That’s always an amazing experience, when someone else makes your words come alive.

How will your role ensure that the national winner benefit from this experience and what do you hope for them to gain?

I’ll be coordinating the reading and scheduling it as part of the day. I hope that the winner not only gains confidence in their writing abilities but also sees the way that what they create can reach people whether only in that room or outside in the world.

What will let you know that this project was a success for you, TYA/USA, AATE, and the playwrights?

I think that if young people are inspired to create, we did something right. If people hear it and are touched by it? All the better. I think that this project totally adheres to the way that TYA USA strives to empower theatre for young audiences and connect people. We are starting and facilitating a conversation. Who knows how it will end?


Want to download all of the information about the competition including rules and guidelines? Interested in hosting a regional competition in your area? Click Here!


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    0 Response

    1. Jeremy Kisling

      We are looking for regional competition hosts through Sept 30th. Please join us in offering this wonderful opportunity to the young people in your community.

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