31st Young Playwrights Festival

January 4-27, 2018 | Chicago Dramatists

The Young Playwrights Festival (YPF) celebrates the 31st year of the program that inspires Chicago students to explore their histories, research their communities and mine their personal journeys to write dynamic one-act plays for the stage. YPF is the only event of its kind in Chicago and is the second largest in the country.

Under the auspices of Pegasus Theatre Chicago, the winning teen playwrights’ productions are work-shopped and staged as part of its main stage season with full casts and production teams. The competition enhances language arts, encourages independent, high-level thinking, strong personal values and influences career development for Chicago’s teens.

The competition received over 500 submissions in 2017 with this year’s selections being:

Maday Favela of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and her play Bullet With Butterfly Wings:  As  Lexa nears a year of friendship with her closest friend Juno, Leviathan uses her anxiety and depression to coax her into ending her friendship.

Mairi Glynn of Von Steuben High School, Monster: An Indonesian Hijabi teen is being held at a police station for questioning after a bomb goes off in Baltimore.

Abigail Henkin of Lane Tech College Prep, Decision Day: Lizzy is a high-achieving high school senior who struggles to decide which of the three colleges wooing her is really her best option. Her mom makes the decision-making tougher.

Aaron Powdermaker of Lane Tech College Prep, Pencils and Pens: Two friends are enjoying a simple life. However, conflict strikes when Perry wants to move up in the world and further his career at the cost of leaving his old life behind.

Be sure to witness the amazing results and enjoy an evening of theater from tomorrow’s theater stars.

Regular Performance Tickets: $18-30

Student Matinee Tickets: teachers and school administrators should contact ypf@pegasustheatrechicago.org.






All Performances at:
Chicago Dramatists
773 N. Aberdeen (Theatre Entrance)



Jerrell L. Henderson is a director and teaching artist. Recent directing credits include Bud, Not Buddy at the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and The Caucasian Chalk Circle at Franklin & Marshall College. Other credits include The Healer: A Workshop Production with Pegasus Theatre Chicago,  and In The Red and Brown Water at Northwestern University (co-director with Henry Godinez). As an assistant director, Jerrell has worked with The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Lookingglass. He received a BA in Theatre Arts from The Pennsylvania State University, an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University, is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and currently a member of Victory Gardens Directors Inclusion Initiative.

Emmi Hilger
 (Director, Bullet With Butterfly Wings) has directed THE CLEAN HOUSE by Sarah Ruhl, REFERENCES TO SALVADOR DALÍ MAKE ME HOT by José Rivera, DON’T LOOK by Gina Doherty, and JOHNNY 10 BEERS’ DAUGHTER for Something Marvelous (where is is producing artistic director). Emmi has also recently worked with Ensemble Dal Niente, Stage Left, The Jades, 20% Theatre Company, Concordia University, and Collaboraction.  She is an Associate Artist and Associate Dramaturg with Chicago Dramatists and an Artistic Associate with Stage Left.

ILesa Duncan (Director, Monster | Pencils & Pens) is Pegasus’ producing artistic director. Her recent directing includes the Jeff-recommended Shakin’ The Mess Outta Misery, the Jeff nominated world premiere of Rutherford’s Travels (which she co-adapted from the National Book award winning Middle Passage), and For Her As A Piano (Pegasus). Other credits include Broken Fences at 16th Street Theater (co-directed with Ann Filmer), The Nativity (Congo Square), Darlin’ (Step Up Productions) and Jar The Floor at ETA. Duncan has also worked with Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Lifeline Theater, Stage Left and Chicago Dramatists, as well as Contemporary American Theatre Company (Ohio), The Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), Arena Stage (Washington DC) and Lincoln Center Theater (New York). Ilesa’s creative nonfiction short stories have been published (Columbia College Chicago), and she’s written poems and screenplays. Ilesa is a member of the Lincoln Center Theatre Director’s Lab, a NEA/TCG Directing Fellow, and an Associate Artist at Chicago Dramatists.