Young Playwrights Festival

The Young Playwrights Festival is a year-long program that encourages teachers to use playwriting techniques as a complementary educational tool. Beginning in September and ending in February of each school year, we work primarily with English/Creative Writing teachers, as well as Theater/Drama teachers throughout Chicago.

YPF gives voice to the next generation by giving students an avenue for expression. Pegasus believes that every young person has an important voice and legitimizes their voices by placing their work in a professional arena. Participating schools submit their student’s plays between March 15 and April 15. Once plays are received, theatre professionals across the city evaluate the first-round play submissions and write evaluations for each one. All plays are judged anonymously.

Plays that make it to the second round of judging are read by another team of artists, who select the scripts that will go to the Final Round.¬†The Final Round consists of an evening celebration of twenty students, ten who will receive an Honorable Mention and ten who are Finalists in the competition. Professional actors read excerpts from the ten Finalist plays and a panel of Judges meet to select the three or four winning plays that will be produced during Pegasus’ mainstage season.

In addition to the professional production, the winning playwrights receive monetary awards and mentorship with a professional playwright. Additional awards are given to six Finalists and ten Honorable Mentions.

Pegasus Players has presented professional productions of more than 75 student-written short plays as part of its mainstage series.

Rinska Carrasco, Millie Langford, Alice Wedoff & Michael Gonring in DELIVER ME FROM EVIL by Kat Blackburn (YPF 24)
Rinska Carrasco, Millie Langford, Alice Wedoff & Michael Gonring in DELIVER ME FROM EVIL by Kat Blackburn (YPF 24)

To participate, teachers contact YPF Director Ilesa Duncan to schedule a FREE Young Playwrights Festival Tour (workshop).  The tours are available during in-school hours. Here is why the Young Playwrights Festival is such a wonderful opportunity for Chicago students:

  • Generate Excitement: Pegasus Players teaching artists come to your classroom to conduct a playwriting workshop, which familiarizes students with the competition, playwriting fundamentals and includes an excerpt from a winning play.  We also discuss how to prepare for the Young Playwrights Festival with your students, free of charge.
  • Practice in Action: Students have until April 1st of each year to submit their plays.  All submitted plays will be read and evaluated by a theatre professional, and each student will receive written feedback on their work.
  • Hands-on Learning: Teachers can also request curriculum assistance to help student’s playwriting.
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To schedule a workshop, email: