YP 2023 Post

CTM’s Young Playwrights program creates a public forum for youth voices through the medium of playwriting. Between September and December, high school & middle school students participate in a day-long workshop to kick off the program, write a 10-minute play based on a theme, and receive professional feedback on their scripts.

CTM is a host site for Playwrights for Change, which is a national playwriting competition run by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE). The mission of Playwrights for Change is to produce meaningful conversations that will ripple across our nation to provoke change. The goal is to spark conversation and discussion throughout classrooms, schools, and communities. CTM will select one script to represent CTM at the national competition.

In addition to the script selected for the national competition, CTM will select one script per school group to be given a staged reading at the Young Playwrights Festival in late April/early May. All ten-minute plays will be directed and acted by professional theater artists and youth actors in roles appropriate to their ages. There will be a daytime festival for students from all participating schools (including a workshop series) as well as an evening festival that is open to the public. At the end of each performance, there will be a talkback with the playwrights.

Timeline of Playwrights for Change Residency

September: AATE announces the theme of the national Playwrights for Change competition.
November-December: A CTM Teaching Artist will lead a 45 minute workshop for your students (in your classroom or at MYArts) to unpack the theme, brainstorm ideas, and dive into character journeys.
Late December-Early January: First drafts of student scripts are due to CTM.
Mid January: CTM Teaching Artists will meet with students (in your classroom or on Zoom) and provide feedback on their drafts.
January 31: Final drafts of student scripts are due to CTM.
Mid February: CTM will choose one script to submit to the national competition. Also, CTM will select one script per school group to be given a staged reading at the Young Playwrights Festival.
March 1: Deadline for CTM to submit the selected script to the national competition.

History of Young Playwrights at CTM

2006: Young Playwrights, a residency program for teens, is established at Madison Rep by Shannon Skelton.
2008: CTM adopts the Young Playwrights Program and hosts the Young Playwrights Festival annually.
2015: CTM becomes a host site for the national middle school competition Young Playwrights for Change, run by American Alliance for Theatre & Education and Theatre for Young Audiences/USA.
2021: “Young Playwrights for Change” becomes “Playwrights for Change,” and begins accepting high school scripts as well.
2022: CTM combines the two programs (Young Playwrights for high school students and Playwrights for Change for middle school students).

National Winners & Runner Ups!

2022 - Runner Up: Isa Killian of Kromrey Middle School. Her play "Under the Surface" looks at two high school students trapped in a cave who must suddenly face their deepest fears, biggest hopes, and are offered a chance to reconcile stereotypes they held about each other.

2021 - Runner Up: Leela Benson of Glacier Creek Middle School. Her play "Wait for Me" looks at a friendship interrupted by the pandemic and personifies/creates characters for the emotions Anger, Hopelessness, and Patience. Watch an interview with Leela and AATE!

2020 - Runner Up: Emily Ge of Jefferson Middle School. Her play "Shared Ignorance" was performed at 2020 AATE National Conference (as well as at CTM's Young Playwrights Festival) Watch Emily's Play from the 2020 Virtual Conference & read an interview!

2018 - National Winner: Taylor Nordeng of Kromrey Middle School. Her play Uprooted won the National Young Playwrights for Change competition. was performed at the AATE National Conference in Minneapolis, MN (as well as at CTM's Young Playwrights Festival). CLICK HERE to see Uprooted performed at the AATE Conference, CLICK HERE to read the feature in the Wisconsin State Journal, and CLICK HERE to see an interview with Taylor at the AATE Conference.


LaFollette High School (Mike Jacoby)
Monona Grove for the 21st Century (Alex Mentele)
Shabazz High School (Chris Cummings)
Kromrey Middle School (Jean Holman, Molly Nelson, Maria Nygard, & Hannah Rose)
Waunakee Community Middle School (Andy Moll)
MMSD Advanced Learning Specialists (Kate Aughenbaugh, Jena Jackson, Amanda Jamae, Carlie Jarvey, Abbie Mannenbach, Michelle Nelson, Amy Sheridan, & Rachel Stohler)


“For us, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to bring in a teaching artist to work on fostering the ability of students to express and share their ideas, experiences, and voices.”

– Rebecca Fox-Blair, Executive Director, Monona Grove Alternative School

“The idea that my artwork might be performed by actual actors gives me a sense of confidence, a sense of achievement.” – Student of the Young Playwrights Program

“The Young Playwrights Program has opened my mind to a new style of thinking and writing. All the time I have spent on this playwriting has better prepared me for college.” – Student of the Young Playwrights Program

“The Young Playwrights Program offered a refreshing break from normal English classes and allowed for creative thinking and self expression.” - Student of the Young Playwrights Program


  1. Engage middle school students from diverse populations and explore the stories of youth from varied backgrounds and abilities; increase students’ knowledge of playwriting and support all students as they write a 10‐minute play.
  2. Provide a public forum for youth voices through playwriting, and a public celebration of original student works in a world‐class performance venue. Increase students' confidence presenting their creative work to peers.
  3. Provide mentorship and foster growth of students' self‐expression; cultivate students' perception of writing as a valuable life skill.


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you want to learn more about bringing Young Playwrights for Change to your school.