young playwrights festival

Sophia Chapadjiev, Director of Education

Employing the signature “O’Neill process,” the festival provides professional-level support to develop original one-act plays written by middle and high school students. With these methods, the young playwrights hone their work, furthering it from the initial isolation of writing to the collaborative process involved in making their script into a living, breathing play. Students receive a rigorous exploration of their work guided by professional artists as well as a script-in-hand public reading of their new play.

The 2021 Young Playwrights Festival will take place April 30 - May 2, 2021.

The 2021 Young Playwrights Festival will likely look different due to the continuing presence of COVID-19. However, the core tenets of the YPF process remain and feature a writer-driven development with collaboration and rehearsal time with creative teams and actors.  Writers selected through the submission process will experience these processes through in-person or digital development.

director of education


Sophia Chapadjiev Sophia Chapadjiev is the Artistic Director of the Young Playwrights Festival and the O’Neill’s Director of Education. With nearly two decades of experience as an arts educator, Sophia has worked with a number of leading theater organizations in teaching students and teachers alike. Sophia is also a playwright and librettist whose work has been performed in New York, London, Toronto and Sydney. Her play, "Over the Moon" won Best Play, plus Audience Favorite at the American Globe Theater and "In This House" was selected as part of London’s inaugural Dark Horse Festival. Selected musical works of hers include: the one-act opera Aloha Flight 243 (music: A. Leyton-Brown) at HERE Arts Center, NY; Tobias Bentley’s World Cello Tour: of the Lesser-Known Nether Regions (music: N. Barstow) at The St. James (nka Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Other Palace), London; and the bijou opera, The Bone Keepers (music: C. O’Neil), a co-production of NYU and American Opera Projects which was highlighted in Broadway World’s opera review and described as “a kind of creep show meets Laverne and Shirley”. Sophia is also the author of Teaching Playwriting: A Step-by-Step Guide to Fostering Creativity in Your Classroom. BFA, Emerson; MFA, NYU's Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program.




advice to young playwrights


Dramatic writing is visual writing: A play is different from a novel or a short story in that it is meant to be performed. A playwright must always focus on what the stage will look like once it is live. This can be a point of real creativity: if you want to set it in a kitchen, set it in a kitchen. If you prefer the moon, set it on the moon. Drama is conflict: Somebody has a desire, and something stands in their way. It sounds vague, but it's the essence of drama. Don't over-explain: Once you lose an audience, it's almost impossible to get them back. So keep things going forward, and don't pause to explain. The audience may get confused, but a little confusion can be fun. And exposition is never dramatic. Strange events permit themselves the luxury of occurring: You've probably been exposed to Realism, with a big R. Realism was a movement that sought to represent "real life" on stage. When it debuted in the late 1800s, it caused riots. It's been the American formula for over 60 years. But... You don't have to follow that. You can have a hover-car chase, swap characters faces, and stage a gunfight in a field of pineapples. In fact, in Len Jenkin's Careless Love, all of that happens. If you have an idea, any idea, no matter how crazy it may seem, write it. Somebody will find a way to do it. Have fun: Writing a play is hard and it takes a lot of work. But seeing something you wrote live on the stage is unbelievably rewarding.




application


Applications are closed. Below is information about our application process. NOTE: Due to staff health and safety concerns, the O’Neill is only accepting digital submissions for consideration. YOU ARE ELIGIBLE IF YOU:

  • are between the ages of 12-18
  • have written an original 10-15 page play
  • are interested in seeing a play of yours workshopped at the world-renowned Eugene O’Neill Theater Center

TO APPLY:
  • You may only submit one play for consideration.
  • All plays must be submitted as PDFs or Word documents. We do not accept Google Docs.
  • Ensure you review the application guidelines at the top of the form.
NOTE:
  • Applications must be received by 11:59pm PST, February 1.
  • Application materials will not be returned or archived.
  • Plays will be selected on a competitive basis.
  • The O'Neill does not provide housing or travel for festival attendees.
EARLY SUBMISSIONS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED Questions? Please contact Sophia at sophia@theoneill.org





meet our 2021 playwrights

Emma Courtright

What the Future Holds

Jasper Galouzis

Breakfast

Shelby Pauloski

Dear Diary

Hazel Siu

The Will of Walter

Paige Walstra

Integrity

Old Saybrook Middle School

Robert E. Fitch High School

Old Saybrook Middle School

Clark Lane Middle School

Waterford High School

Connecticut

Connecticut

Connecticut

Connecticut

Connecticut

2021 Featured Playwrights

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS by Emma Courtright


About the playwright: Emma Courtright (she/her) is a seventh grader at Old Saybrook Middle School in Old Saybrook, CT. When she's not with her friends and family, she's free writing plays and poems. Emma enjoys listening to music, baking, and playing lacrosse. What the Future Holds is one of Emma's pieces that truly express her love for writing and she can't wait to share it with the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. About the play: What the Future Holds focuses on Kate, a teenage girl with political aspirations, struggling with the impacts of hundreds of years of gender inequality. Her best friend, Jack, helps her through a troubling class debate when people question the strength and integrity of women. Will her classmates take a closer look into the past? Will Kate succeed in her attempts for equality?




INTEGRITY by Paige Walstra


About the playwright: Paige Walstra is a senior at Waterford High School. Her play, Integrity, is the first one she has ever written. She has always loved the arts and is so thankful to be a part of this year's Young Playwrights Festival! About the play: Integrity follows Deliysa and Miles, two seventeen-year-olds about to experience their first date with each other. While preparing for their date, they each received some not-so-helpful advice from older siblings and fall into stereotypical gender roles. There is bound to be turmoil on this date!




THE WILL OF WALTER by Hazel Siu


About the playwright: Hazel Siu is from Waterford CT, and is currently an 8th grader at Clark Lane Middle School. She has been participating in theater as an elective since 5th grade, and the Drama Club at CLMS since 6th. In her free time she enjoys writing, spending time with her siblings, and participating in fencing and tennis. This was her first time attempting to write a play, and she really enjoyed it. About the play: Mr. Lee is sent to the living room of Walter Filibert, who has recently died. As a lawyer, he’s seen all types of last wills and testaments, but this one is just a bit different.




DEAR DIARY by Shelby Pauloski


About the playwright: Shelby Pauloski (she/her) is a seventh grader at Old Saybrook Middle School in Old Saybrook, CT. If she is not performing, Shelby can be found reading, writing, dancing, or singing. Shelby enjoys writing stories, as well as music, in her free time. Dear Diary is the first musical Shelby has written and she is excited to share it with the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center! About the play: Dear Diary is a musical about three teenagers, Quinn, Thalia, and Cameron, each struggling in their own unique way. By learning to trust their friendship and themselves, they realize who they truly are and what they are capable of together.




BREAKFAST by Jasper Galouzis


About the playwright: Jasper Galouzis is from Mystic Connecticut. They’re sixteen and are a junior at Fitch High School. This is their second time at the O’Neill for the Young Playwrights Festival, having attended their freshman year as a Guest Playwright. They’ve only been writing for three years but have found a strong love for it and now plan on going into college for English and Theater. About the play: Breakfast is about a single mom and her teenage son having a conversation about his newfound views. As his mother, she will support him no matter what until she learns that his new beliefs go against everything she taught him about being a good person.




Guest Playwrights


Hall of Fame by Sara Cove; Rockville High School; CT The Golden Age of Friendship by Pamela Durango-Ramirez; Lincoln School; RI From the Flames of Disease by Zaya Haglund; ISAAC; CT Judged by the Look by Aisha Hashimi; Fitch High School; CT Open Wounds by Nazariah Isaac; New London High School; CT The Stupidity of Pink & Blue by Mirabelle Meek; Lincoln School; RI So Get This by Addison Mobley; Clark Lane MS; CT Borderline by Ariana Rosado; Waterford High School; CT Scrapyard Goals by Cameron WebsterClark Lane MS; CT Chutes & Ladders by Lilly Werling; Pittsburgh CAPA; PA





YPF Since 2008

2008 - 2009


2009: Featured Playwrights Maturity Limit by Abigail Corrado; Waterford High School, CT Charlotte Ablaze by Emily Patten; Clark Lane Middle School Frustration by Erik Crouch; Robert E. Fitch Sr. High School The Bus Stop Chronicles by Brenna Sansom; Robert E. Fitch Sr. High School, CT Textbookland by Andi Wang; Choate, MA Guest Playwrights Halfway Decent Living by Tyler McCarthy; Fitch High School, CT 2008: Featured Playwrights Standing Ground by Shannon Burke; Fitch High School, CT The Ivy League by Casey Corrado; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Five Fridays in February Hannah Utt; Fitch High School, CT The Hollow Voices by Stephanie DelRosso; Loomis Chaffee, CT The Invention of O by Deepali Gupta; Greens Farms Academy, CT An Aspiring Insomniac by CatherineButta; Fitch High School, CT




2015 - 2019


2019: Featured Playwrights The Strange Case of Project Amelioration by Holly Richmond; Montville High School, CT Between The Legs by Faye Thompson; Lincoln School, RI Sabotage by Cori Diaz; Rockville High School, CT Good Opportunity by Dominic Brunaccioni; Waterford High School, CT Growing Up Old by Kayla Roy; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Guest Playwrights War that Killed by Pankhudi Prasad; Clark Lane Middle School, CT One Job, Fix It. by Jonah Kehew; Old Saybrook Middle School, CT The Interview by Will Grimes; The Park School, MA King Henric III of Urbeferria by Juan Vieyra; Old Saybrook Middle School, CT Starlight, Starbright by Aila McEnroe; Lincoln School, MA The Music Box by Riley Haworth; Old Saybrook Middle School, CT Someday. by Emma Hall, Clark Lane Middle School, CT Two Sides to a Tale (The Choice) by Yago Da Fonseca; Clark Lane Middle School, CT First World Problems by Mason LaForte; Waterford High School, CT A Shoe is an Item of Footwear… by Nico Brown; The Williams School, CT Float On by Caelan Desmond; The Williams School, CT Apples From The Tree by Lily Watson; Waterford High School, CT The Imaginary Friend by William Palmer; The William School, CT Inside the Box by Margaret Madole; East Lyme High School, CT Distance by Jordan J. Galouzis; Fitch High School, CT Castor I by Julia Browning; Norwich Free Academy, CT 2018: Featured Playwrights Schrödinger's Wife by Maurielle Mcgarvey; High School for Performing & Visual Arts, TX Unseen-The Story of a Girl and Her Imaginary Friend by Madelyn Beaudoin; Old Saybrook Middle School, CT How to Make a Women's Advocate by Taylor Roy; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Infallia by Jordan Bordner; Waterford High School, CT Places To Go, People to Be by Jesse Zieminski; Fitch High School, CT Guest Playwrights Those Left Behind by Aiden Rodgers; Salem School, CT Revenge of the Vegans by Jonah Kehew; Old Saybrook Middle School, CT It's a Match! by Jemmie Piersol-Freedman; Berlin-Boylston Public Schools, MA Roller Coaster Revenge by Abigail Klein; Lincoln School, RI My Heart Constricts in Pain by Maya Desai; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Little Wishes by Jenna Lane; ISAAC School, CT Want, Need by Luke Muti; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Actions Speak Louder Than Words by Anslie Dybala; West Side Middle School, CT Maggie by Holly Richmond; Montville High School, CT Ledgeside by Ben Connor; Mt. Pleasant High School, DE Glad I Met You by Clara Gerrish; Fitch High School, CT Untitled (Guinea Pig Play) by Patrick Kirwin; Albert Einstein High School, MD You Choose by Ashley Fischer; Rockville High School, CT Namesake by Lili Kane; Fisher Island School, CT The Smallest Heros by Sierra Blanco; Hunter College High School, NY The Color of Adventure by Jessayln Krenicki; Waterford High School, CT 2017: Featured Playwrights A Timepiece of Mind by Amanda Rowe; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Worth More by Grace Clarke; Fitch High School, CT Love at First Catch by Lauren Knowles; Waterford High School, CT Achilles' Dilemma by William Palmer; Williams School, CT Saving Grace (The Human Experiment) by Lucy Sydel; LaGuardia Arts High School, NY Guest Playwrights Brace for it by Briana Nelson; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Two Guns and One Man by Leslie Ann Melendez; ISAAC School, CT A Blind Heart by Shane Crespin; West Side Middle School, CT Willow Trees by Grace Cassineri; Williams School, CT God is a Dinosaur by Nidhi Somineni; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Counterfeit Detective by Jimmy Kilcomons; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Hunger for Knowledge by Philip Knowlton; Williams School, CT Secrets of the Locket by Kate Paecht; Cutler Middle School, CT Please Say Something by Claire Morgan; Fitch High School, CT Salted Butter by Bridget Pegg; Incarnate Word Academy, MO Family Nights with the Fletchers by Joseph Sexton; McNair Academic High School, NJ Heaven Knows by Christina Diaz; Rockville High School, CT Dysfunction by Meghan Nowak; Waterford High School, CT Torn in Two by Karishma Chouhan; Montville High School, CT Through Sickness and in Health by Jennifer Lussier; Fitch High School, CT Coffeehouse Bridge by Ben Weber; Great Neck South High School, NY 2016: Featured Playwrights The Feast of the Seven Fishes by Natalie Frascarelli; Waterford High School, CT Warehouse Whereabouts by Owen Seltzer; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Upon a Star by Adelle Clark; Cutler Middle School, CT Deliverance by Georgia White; Stonington High School, CT The Bedroom by Isabelle Pierce; John Jay High School, NY Guest Playwrights The Child Next Door by Abby Rogers; Cutler Middle School, CT Trapped by Talia Masson; East Lyme Middle School, CT My Favorite Keys by Thomas Pitasi; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Massacre at Fort Griswold by William Palmer; The Williams School, CT Pens and Apologies by Lily Watson; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Wolf's Lie by Paige Martin; St. Bernard School, CT From the Shadows by Ariannah "Ari" Black; West Side Middle School, CT Blinded by Gladys Alarcon; ISAAC School, CT Day In, Day Out by Jesse Zieminski; Fitch High School, CT The Infernal Comedy by Caroline Jeffers; Rockville High School, CT The Pink Triangle by Kate Koster; Green Farms Academy, CT The Unusual and Unfortunate Uses of a Shovel by Benjamin Weber; Great Neck South High School, NY Assistant to Agent by Jennifer Lussier; Fitch High School, CT Salt Water Taffy by Elijah Uttley-Rosado; Ledyard High School, CT I'm Not People by Stephanie Okun; Riverdale Country School, NY House Crew by Dominic Bruno; Waterford High School, CT 2015: Featured Playwrights Stranger Strangers by Zoe Rose; Classical Magnet School, CT Stay Sharp by Talia Masson; Dual Language and Arts Magnet Middle School, CT Empty Space by Branwyn McDowell; Waterford High School, CT The Dangers of Studying by Sean Estep; Fitch High School, CT Ascension by Chloe Wilson; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Beyond Death by Joshua Harlow; Waterford High School, CT Guest Playwrights Ancient Histrionics by Caroline Jeffers; Rockville High School, CT White Shores by Rebecca Weigel; New London High School, CT Of Thee I See by Hope Burnside; Saint Bernard High School, CT The Ant Kid by Elijah Uttley-Rosado; Ledyard High School, CT Hello? by Georgia White; Stonington High School, CT Battle of the Nations by Daniel Wadsworth; Waterford High School, CT Fishing by Stephanie Okun; Riverdale Country School, NY A Child's Story by Quincy Confoy; Ethical Culture Fieldston, NY The Truth About Success by Anika Jannatul; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Donner Diner by Avery Holzworth; Dual Language and Arts, CT Twist by Violet Abad; ISAAC School, CT Karma by Anthony Philopena; Westside Middle School, CT Black and White by Adelle "Addie" Clark; Cutler Middle School, CT Repeat by Dominic Bruno; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Drill by Sierra Blanco; Hunter College Elementary School, NY Penelope Harkness by Sara Beth Bouchard; Dual Language and Arts, CT




2010 - 2014


2014: Featured Playwrights The Adventures of Millennial High School by Jake Romano; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Ben Loved Phoebe, Ben Hates Tea by Sarah Stryker; Waterford High School, CT Aftermath by Caitlin McQuade; Classical Magnet School, CT Good Guy, Bad Guy, Bad Guy, Bad Guy by Sasha Volkerts; New London High School, CT The Perfect Mistake by Lauren Rusk; ISAAC School, CT Guest Playwrights The Vote by Jack Nassetta; Saint Bernard School, CT Beyond Death by Joshua Harlow; Waterford High School, CT There. by Zoe Rose; Classical Magnet School, CT Light Blue by Miguel Morales; New London High School, CT Like Snow by Molly Turban; Saint Bernard School, CT Charles & Paprika by Julia Bonadies; Rockville High School, CT The Day It Stopped by Olesia Pounch; Waterford High School, CT A Fairground Romance by Bridget Gray; East Lyme High School, CT The Switch by Sophie Wang; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Path to Success by Jonathan Dryden-Jaffe; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Which Will it Be? by Emily Moore; West Side Middle School, CT The Haunting by Nichole Roman; ISAAC School, CT Color by Quinn Ryan; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Think Differently by Kate Porter; CLark Lane MIddle School, CT The Outcast Clique by Kelly Sandgren; Cutler Middle School, CT The Case of the Lost Child by Madeline Christensen; ISAAC School, CT 2013: Featured Playwrights If by Alyssa Serrambana; Classical Magnet School, CT A World with Three Sides by Carin Estey; Waterford High School, CT Return of the Heroic Son by Shawn Lee; Fitch High School, CT Pigeon by Elijah Singer; New London High School, CT The Cinderella Predicament by Megan Sturm; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Guest Playwrights Stuck by Rachel Dondero; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Gone by Carissa Aekins; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Red by Joshua Steele Kelly; Waterford High School, CT Jungle Fever by Noah Todd; Waterford High School, CT We're Leaving by Melissa Close; Waterford High School, CT The Bar by Micah Greenleaf; Waterford High School, CT Spark of Revolution by Zahra Kamel; Waterford High School, CT The Essay by Adam Mortensen; Cutler Middle School, CT All Washed Up by Giselle Shuleshko; New London High School, CT The New Girl by Lauren Rusk; ISAAC School, CT Around the Table by Alyssa Gunther; Rockville High School, CT Save Our Souls by Kate Koster; Green Farms Academy, CT 2012: Featured Playwrights Our Founding Fathers by Kelly O’Connor; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Explanations by Emily Patten; Saint Bernard School, CT Dayton's Saxophone by Matthew Alfultis; Waterford High School, CT 30 Years Young by Tiffany Avallone; Waterford High School, CT Happy as a Clam by Lisa Mueller; Rockville High School, CT Guest Playwrights Prompt of a Party by Molly Young; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Breaking Point by Dylan Abate; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Old Romance by Nulin Phrommavanh; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Final Virus by Yvonne Sadinsky; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Bogus Friends are the Best Kind by Jeannette Mooney; Clark Lane Middle School, CT A Charming Way to Say Hello by Ashley Roselund; Waterford High School, CT A Sinfun Son by Andrew John Pedro II; Waterford High School, CT Patriots of a Nation by Bowei Zhao; Waterford High School, CT Pressure Drop by Julia Little; Pine Point School, CT Saudade by Emily Harper; Fitch High School, CT Reconciliation by Daron Chandler; Fitch High School, CT The Forgiveness Process by Renee Harms; Fitch High School, CT 2011: Featured Playwrights The End by Alma Doran; Fitch High School, CT Notebook by Kevin Schlink; Waterford High School, CT Facebook World by Sarah Riemann; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Truck Stop by Kyla Wingrove-Haugland; Ledyard High School, CT Elevator by Brianna Matava; Rockville High School, CT Guest Playwrights Elevator by Kanani Kinnaman; Homeschool, CT A Long-Awaited Reunion by Nathaniel Ross; Waterford High School, CT Shattered by Matt Henn; Waterford High School, CT Prepped by Joshua Harlow; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Eli by Tianna Roman; Clark Lane Middle School, CT During Time of Great Need by Albrianna Farnum; Fitch High School, CT Just a Couple of Coffees by Carin Estey; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Family Secret by Jacob Turner; Clark Lane Middle School, CT 2010: Featured Playwrights El Dia de Gracias by Amanda Jengo; Fitch High School, CT The Foxwoods Dilemma by Micah Greenleaf; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Socks Don't Cure Cold Feet by Casey Corrado; Waterford High School, CT The Rhyme-Space Continuum by Nicholas Rieger Kennedy; Fitch High School, CT This Just In by Erin Bilir; Colorado Academy, CO




2020 - 2024


2020: Featured Playwrights The Stories of Myth by Marlie Jae Kass; Brimmer and May, MA Sneakers by Anya Jiménez; Professional Performing Arts School, NY Negative Space by Julia Browning; Norwich Free Academy, CT The Speech by Isabel Comas-Soares; Robert E. Fitch HS, CT Mrs. Witherbee and the Super Moles by Stefen Kuhn; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Guest Playwrights A Different Type of Thanksgiving by Caroline Ancona; Old Saybrook MS, CT Betwixt by Huda Ayaz; The Wheatley School, NY Loss/Lost by Maleigh Crespo; Mississippi School of the Arts, MS Under the Stars by Madelyn Gorra; Clark Lane MS, CT Annette by Harmony Lepikko; Robert E. Fitch HS, CT Government Files by Michelle Liu; Clark Lane MS, CT Big by Maggie Munday Odom; The Grove School, CT Remedy at the Jordan by Aiden Rodgers; East Lyme HS, CT Princess Rule by Addyson Rogers; Cutler Magnet MS, CT Break My Bones by Tess Rowan; Langley HS, VA





Funding for the Young Playwrights Festival provided by: The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut; CT Automotive Retailer's Association; Bodenwein Public Benevolent Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; the Waterford Education Foundation; and O'Neill Annual Fund donors