The YouthPLAYS Blog

Welcome to the YouthPLAYS blog, where you'll find articles about playwriting, play development and more!

Why Now?
July 24, 2017

It's one of the most important questions you need to answer about your play.  Explore it with Jonathan Dorf.


No More "Hell Week"
July 24, 2017

Matt Buchanan, author of Directing Kids, as well as An Avalanche of Murder, Alice on the Other Side, One Smart Pig, and many other plays, discusses ways (and reasons) to make production week less frantic and stressful.


What is Dramaturgy?
July 24, 2017

Emily Ernst is a BFA Dramaturgy major in the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. She is originally from Cleveland, OH, and has a passion for new play development, writing, and crossword puzzles.


Jonathan Dorf is the founder of YouthPLAYS, and the author of such plays as Dear Chuck (one-act and full-length), Rumors of Polar Bears, The Locker Next 2 Mine and Harry's Hotter at Twilight. He works extensively with playwrights of all ages and is available worldwide as a guest artist.


Matt Buchanan, author of One Smart Pig, Prince Ugly and An Avalanche of Murder, discusses his "rules" for writing Theatre for Young Audiences.


What is the biggest obstacle or setback you've ever faced in creating a play? How did you move past it? YouthPLAYS authors respond. 


Daniel Rashid, author of Fenced, shares how he incorporates ritual and mindfulness into his creative life.


Playwright Brian Armstrong, author of Piglet, answers questions about his career, playwriting, and the theatre.


Some writers start a play with a very specific outline. Some start with a blank page and a vague idea and go from there. Each has its merits and each leaves a certain amount of room for discovery. What kind of room do you leave for discovery in creating a new play? YouthPLAYS authors respond.


Playwright Nancy Brewka-Clark, author of First Dance and Math-O-Freak, answers questions about her career, playwriting, and the theatre.


Daniel Rashid, author of Fenced, shares his favorite writing exercise.


Playwright Barbara Lindsay, author of An Actual Baby Person and An Old-Fashioned Christmas, answers questions about her career, playwriting and the theatre.


Tina Howe has been quoted as saying that her characters are splinters of herself. Is this true for you and your characters? Where do your characters come from? YouthPLAYS authors respond.


Finding Your Voice
July 22, 2017

Daniel Rashid, actor/writer and recent USC graduate, navigates life as a post-grad artist in Los Angeles. In this first installment of a blog series about life after college for young theatre artists, he talks about finding your voice.


Playwright Nina Mansfield, author of Erasing the Brain, answers questions about her career, playwriting, and the theatre.


Our Theatre Heroes
July 22, 2017

Who is your theatre hero? Why? YouthPLAYS authors respond.


Playwright Tom Smith, author of ESL What Comes Around…, A Christmas Carol, The Wild and Wacky Rhyming Stories of Miss Henrietta Humpledowning and Johnny and Sally Ann, answers questions about his career, playwriting, and the theatre.


How do we, as theatre artists, cultivate new audiences so theatre doesn’t die out in the next 100 years? YouthPLAYS authors respond.


Playwright Ricky Young-Howze, author of I'm Totally Getting Sent to Bible Camp This Summer (part of Great Expectations: Eight Plays About Teens Under Pressure), discusses the importance of making the theater a welcoming place for audience members with disabilities and offers some commonsense suggestions on how to go about it.


Playwright, novelist and poet Hayley Lawson-Smith, author of Warriors, discusses the various ways playwrights and other writers find the motivation to keep writing despite challenges and distractions.


Nina Mansfield, author of Erasing the Brain, writes both plays and fiction. Here she discusses her process, with particular emphasis on the differences between writing fiction and writing for the stage.


As we near the end of 2014, several YouthPLAYS authors explore the question, "How do you find the endings of your plays?"

Playwrights Nancy Brewka-Clark, Jonathan Dorf, and Greg Romero respond, sharing the many different paths they have followed...


As we near the end of 2014, several YouthPLAYS authors explore the question, "How do you find the endings of your plays?"

Playwrights Evan Baughfman, Flip Kobler,  Rebecca Moretti, and Donna Spector respond, sharing the many different paths they have followed...


In this YouthPLAYS blog series, we interview playwrights by asking them 9 Questions.

In responding, each playwright is also asked to remove one question and replace it with a new one for the next playwright.

We thank YouthPLAYS author Nicole B. Adkins for participating, and you can enjoy her response by clicking "read."


This is the second installment of a blog entry in which several YouthPLAYS authors question convention in response to the prompt: "What piece of conventional wisdom about playwriting have you found to be the least helpful?"

Read on for replies from Evan Guilford-Blake, Donna Spector, Carol S. Lashof and Nancy Brewka-Clark.


Several YouthPLAYS authors question convention in response to the prompt: "What piece of conventional wisdom about playwriting have you found to be the least helpful?"

Read on for replies from Fengar Gael, Nathaniel Kressen, Patricia Lamkin, and Meron Langsner.


In this YouthPLAYS blog series, we interview playwrights by asking them 9 Questions.

In responding, each playwright is also asked to remove one question and replace it with a new one for the next playwright.

We thank YouthPLAYS author Randy Wyatt for participating, and you can enjoy his response by clicking "read."


With the seasons changing, a couple YouthPLAYS authors reply to the question, "What has been the most important 'spring' in your life?"

Read how playwrights Evan Guilford-Blake and Tommy Jamerson respond...


In this YouthPLAYS blog series, we interview playwrights by asking them 9 Questions.

In responding, each playwright is also asked to remove one question and replace it with a new one for the next playwright.

We thank YouthPLAYS author Bradley Hayward for participating, and you can enjoy his response by clicking "read."


In this YouthPLAYS blog series, we interview playwrights by asking them 9 Questions.

In responding, each playwright is also asked to remove one question and replace it with a new one for the next playwright.

We thank YouthPLAYS author Claudia Haas for participating, and you can enjoy her response by clicking "read."


Through the gift of reflection, several YouthPLAYS authors thoughtfully reply to the question, "Why do you write for young audiences?"

Read how playwrights Noelle Donfeld, Carol S. Lashof, and Donna Spector respond...


Through the gift of reflection, several YouthPLAYS authors thoughtfully reply to the question, "Why do you write for young audiences?"

Read how playwrights Kitty Dubin, Joanne Greene, Christian Kiley, and Lois Wickstrom respond...


Through the gift of reflection, several YouthPLAYS authors thoughtfully reply to the question, "Why do you write for young audiences?"

Read how playwrights Nancy Brewka-Clark, Arthur M. Jolly, Rocco Natale, and Greg Romero respond...


In this YouthPLAYS blog series, we interview playwrights by asking them 9 Questions.

In responding, each playwright is also asked to remove one question and replace it with a new one for the next playwright.

We thank YouthPLAYS author Arthur M. Jolly for participating, and you can enjoy his response by clicking "read."


To celebrate the new year, several YouthPLAYS authors recently responded to the prompt, "What is the most important or memorable goal or resolution you've made?"

Hear how playwrights Barbara Lindsay, Lucy Wang, and Nancy Brewka-Clark reply...


To celebrate the holiday season, several YouthPLAYS authors recently responded to the prompt, "What is the best gift your writing has ever received?"

Hear how playwrights Stacy Davidowitz, Henry W. Kimmel, Kenyon Brown, and Liz Shannon Miller reply...

 


9 Questions: Suzan Zeder
December 18, 2013

In this YouthPLAYS blog series, we interview playwrights by asking them 9 Questions.

In responding, each playwright is also asked to remove one question and replace it with a new one for the next playwright.

We thank author and educator Suzan Zeder for participating, and you can enjoy her response by clicking "read."

 


To celebrate the holiday season, several YouthPLAYS authors recently responded to the prompt, "What is the best gift your writing has ever received?"

Hear how playwrights Patrick Gabridge, Kelly DuMar, and Barbara Lindsay reply...


In this new YouthPLAYS blog series, we interview playwrights by asking them 9 Questions. In responding, each playwright is also asked to remove one question and replace it with a new one for the next playwright.

We thank YouthPLAYS author D.W. Gregory for participating, and you can enjoy her response by clicking "read."

Three YouthPLAYS authors recently responded to the prompt:

"Is there a theatre company or organization with which you've had a particularly good working experience on one of your plays for youth?  What made the experience particularly good?  How did you participate?"

Hear how playwrights Lynn-Steven Johanson, Greg Romero, and Stacy Davidowitz reply...


In this new YouthPLAYS blog series, we interview playwrights by asking them 9 Questions

In responding, each playwright is also asked to remove one question and replace it with a new one for the next playwright.

We thank George Brant for participating, and you can enjoy his response by clicking "read."


Nancy Brewka-Clark on the inspiration for her writing career.


Steven Stack recounts his ongoing battle with one of his characters, and the lessons he's learned from it.


The Value of Monologues
November 24, 2012

Jonathan Dorf talks about the value of including monologues in your plays.


Forrest Musselman on why he likes writing plays for (and working with) teen actors.


Play in a Day
October 4, 2012

Carol S. Lashof ruminates on her experience with a 24-hour play festival in San Francisco.  And check out her plays on the YouthPLAYS site:  The Minotaur, Options and Persephone Underground!


Jonathan Dorf provides tips for writing ten-minute plays.


Just how much should you put in your stage directions?  Jonathan Dorf gives you his take on the subject.


Ed Shockley discusses choosing a medium for your idea.


The One-Liner
October 6, 2011

Jonathan Dorf talks about how you can use a one-liner as both a marketing tool and a way to get your dramatic house in order.


Start Late, End Early
August 31, 2011

Jonathan Dorf talks about the importance of picking the right time to begin and end your play.


The Balance of Power
August 10, 2011

Jonathan Dorf talks about the importance of creating a "balance of power" in your plays to keep the audience guessing.


Jonathan Dorf talks about giving your play an answer to the question "why now?"


Jonathan Dorf offers five tips to having a more productive talkback after a reading of your play.


Ed Shockley continues to develop themes from his The Vanishing Monologue, Part I.


Ed Shockley blogs about the disappearance of monologues from many contemporary plays.


The Question of the Play
November 8, 2010

Jonathan Dorf explains how to come up with a "question of the play" and let it help you structure your work.


Get some words of wisdom about how to avoid writer's block from Jonathan Dorf.


Adaptation
June 29, 2010

Jonathan Dorf offers tips on adaptation, inspired by a recent lecture he gave in Singapore.


Produce a Play!
April 10, 2010

Learn more about ProduceAPlay.com, a new (free!) information site coming soon.


Advice for Young Actors
February 14, 2010

Ed Shockley offers advice for young actors in the area of character creation.


Mood and Emotion
December 31, 2009

Ed Shockley discusses the importance of mood and emotion of each character in a scene as part of the playwright's craft.


An alphabet's worth of tips help you further your writing career.


The Art of Play Building
September 4, 2009

Ed Shockley talks about what really "makes" a great play.


Routine
September 2, 2009

Ed Shockley discusses a fertile writing period and the importance of finding a writing routine.