Young Playwrights for Change 2017

Each year, middle school students from all five boroughs submit their plays to our Young Playwrights for Change competition! This year we had a record number of incredible playwrights submit their work; it was so hard to choose five for our staged reading.

Our five finalists: Emily, Madison, Nimoratul, Stella and Tula each shared their unique perspective and voice through their work and we were extremely proud to honor each of them as Regional Finalists.

Today we’re excited to bring you our young playwrights reflections on the Young Playwrights for Change process. Read about Madison’s Young Playwrights for Change journey:

Hello! I’m Madison Epner and my play, Superboy, was one of the regional finalists for the Young Playwrights for Change competition.

To summarize, my play is about a little boy who wants to dress up as Taylor Swift for Halloween, but his mother doesn’t want him to. I came up with the idea for this on Halloween night. I thought: why not have a child who wants to wear one costume but their parent wants them to wear a different one? And to escalate this further, maybe the child could want this to dress up as the opposite gender. That’s how my basic plot formed. Over time, I changed quite a lot. Albert, (formerly Fern) was added to escalate the conflict and Brooke’s personality was changed from stereotypical mom to more bitter.

This play was fun to write because it took me out of my comfort zone. If you know me at all, you’d know that I’m very into sci-fi and fantasy, and creating a more realistic play challenged me, but it was fun to make something so dramatic.

Honestly, I was quite surprised that my play got chosen as one of the top five in the region. When I heard that my play was to be staged, I was nervous. What if the actors didn’t get the characters that I was trying to portray? Luckily, the actors understood each of my characters perfectly. It was even cooler seeing it performed in an actual theater because it made everything feel more real.

I’d totally recommend entering this competition. Of course it’s awesome to see your play performed, but it’s also great to see all of the great plays that others submit!

I think what I learned the most from this was that even if something (for me, this is playwriting) isn’t something you think you’d love, you should still do it and share it.

– Madison


Young Playwrights for Change is a collaborative middle school playwriting competition run by TYA/USA and AATE. The mission of Young Playwrights for Change is to produce meaningful conversations that will ripple across our nation to provoke change. Our goal is to spark conversation and discussion throughout classrooms, schools and communities. New York City Children’s Theater was proud to be the New York City Regional Host for our third year!

Want more information about the competition?

Photo courtesy of Napier Lopez Photography

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