empowering students to create plays


ACT's Young Playwrights Program (YPP) is ACT Theatre's flagship arts residency program. It pairs professional playwrights and theatre artists with classroom teachers to engage middle and high school students in a 10-week intensive program that includes drama and improv exercises, creative writing prompts, and supportive feedback sessions. By the end of YPP, each student completes the first draft of an original, one-act play.

YPP aligns with Washington State Learning Standards for the Arts, cultivates opportunity for enriching peer-level support and feedback, and enhances confidence in creative problem-solving, writing, and self-expression.

"This program has really helped me to find out more about myself. The more I write, I discover connections between each piece and that's when I realize, wow, this is what I'm interested in, this is who I am."     - Si Jia Yu, Roosevelt High School

Toward the end of YPP's ten-week term, a panel of teaching artists and ACT artistic staff select eight outstanding student plays from all participating schools for inclusion in the annual Young Playwrights Festival at ACT Theatre. The winning plays are announced in mid December at the YPP Celebration, to which all participating students, their families, and participating schools are invited. At the YPP Celebration, professional actors are hired to perform scenes from student plays, a nationally recognized artist is engaged to speak to the students, and partner theater companies choose plays to present during the Young Playwright Festival.


  • Relevant, useful writing skills.
  • The YPP teaches students to express themselves through writing and tell a dramatic story with a beginning, middle and end.
  • Self-confidence.
  • ACT's YPP endows students with tools for self-expression in a safe environment.
  • Reading fluency and public speaking.
  • Becoming a confident speaker and a fluent reader is a major part of the YPP curriculum.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
  • Theatre brings out talents that aren't often discovered in a typical classroom. The YPP incorporates theatre games with writing exercises breaking students away from a sedentary routine.


  • ACT works closely with each school partner. We tailor our curriculum to meet the needs of students in independent, public, and alternative schools, as well as students with special needs and students considered "at-risk."
  • YPP Teaching Artists work with classroom teachers to ensure that the program meets students' needs and academic expectations.
  • YPP Teaching Artists do not assign grades to individual students. They do provide feedback to students and communicate with the classroom teacher weekly about individual student progress.
  • YPP curriculum can be integrated into existing English or Drama curriculum or offered as an after-school activity.
  • Work written by students can be shared as an in-school or after school event. Contact ACT Theatre for suggestions or partnership in this process.

For additional information:
Contact ACT's Education & Engagement Manager, Tracy Hyland
tracy.hyland@acttheatre.org or (206) 292-7660 x 1227.



2016 YPF Cover