Young Playwrights' Theater inspires young
people to realize the power of their own voices.

Special Projects

Young Playwrights’ Theater often collaborates with theaters, museums, and other institutions to create timely works, highlighting the voices of DC students in some of Washington’s most prestigious venues. 

Businesses, museums, theaters or community organizations seeking to create a special project with YPT can contact Executive Director Brigitte Winter at

Crossing the Street
Building DC's Inclusive Future Through Creative Placemaking

Crossing the Street: SW Is...

Crossing the Street: SW Is... is a workshop series and community festival that explores what Southwest DC was, is and can be. Through playwriting, poetry and visual art workshops in local schools and community centers, YPT asked residents of all ages: “What does the past, present and future of SW look like to you?” Their responses will come to life in a performance piece and community festival that celebrates the neighborhood’s rich history and exciting future!

[UPDATE: The final performance and festival will be held on Sunday, November 6, not Saturday, October 22 as previously reported. Join us on Nov 6 for a day of theater, art and community!]

SW Is... Final Performance & Community Festival

Honor the past, present and future of Southwest DC at Crossing the Street: SW Is... - a performance and community festival celebrating the past, present and future of SW! 

Sunday, November 6 [*NEW DATE*]
4th & I St. SW
Free and open to the public
Click here for tickets!


Join Southwesters of all ages for a day of theater, art and family fun honoring Southwest DC. Learn about the neighborhood's history, hear from its young people and explore its future through the arts!

The event will have three distinct sections: SW Was...SW Is... and SW Can Be....
  • SW Was... will guide visitors through the history and culture of SW. With talks by local historians, archival photos and more, it's a must for any history buff!
  • SW Is... will bring the voices of Southwest to life onstage. Professional readings of student-written monologues and poems, music and dance performances and more await on the event's main stage! 
  • SW Can Be... features interactive, artistic explorations of Southwest's future. Write your thoughts on our magnetic poetry wall, stand on a soapbox to speak your mind and share it all on social media using #CrossingtheStreetSW!

Join us on Sunday, November 6 for all this and more! Click for tickets!

SW Is... featured in The Southwester!

Crossing the Street: SW Is... is featured on the back cover of the October 2016 issue of The Southwester, Southwest DC's free community newspaper! Click here to read up on the exciting project, and pick up a copy in newsstands across Southwest! 

Thank you to The Southwester for sharing SW Is...!








Thank you to the Southwest community stakeholders helping to make
Crossing the Street: SW Is... a reality!


Dreaming Out Loud, Inc.

Friends of Randall Rec Center

King Greenleaf Rec Center - Paul Taylor

SW Business Improvement District (SWBID)

SW Library

SW Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA)

SW Residents!

Westminster Presbyterian Church





YPT's Crossing the Street launch on June 4 was documented by a film crew from Stone Soup Films,
as part of their 2016 Doc-in-a-Day Festival! Click here to watch the great video!

Looking back...

Past Collaborations

Check out some of our past works below.

The 524 Project
Spring 2014

In August of 2013, YPT was thrilled to learn that we won a $50,000 grant that enabled us to partner with Detroit-based InsideOut Literary Arts Project (iO) and Meridian Hill Pictures (MHP) to work with youth in DC and Detroit. Thanks to the Theatre Communications Group and the Metlife/TCG A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It, YPT, MHP, and iO are using state of the art audiovisual equipment to connect a classroom in Detroit to a classroom in DC to facilitate a cultural exchange of playwriting, poetry and media arts this spring. 

Click to find out more about The 524 Project and our Final Presentation, May 22, 2014, at Anacostia Playhouse!

The Civil War Special Project
Spring 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011
7pm Performance

As part of our Special Projects program, YPT was commissioned by Ford’s Theatre to explore some of the themes and issues that still reverberate today from the beginning of the Civil War.

During six weeks of workshops, approximately 100 students at Banneker High School and Kelly Miller Middle School explored why and how the war began - and wrote monologues, scenes and short plays based on their own views of the war and how it still resonates in their lives today.


The Woodlawn Cemetery Project
Winter 2011

On February 7, 2011, at 7pm at GALA Hispanic Theatre (3333 14th St. NW), YPT premiered Woodlawn, a new play created collaboratively with residents and organizations throughout Ward 7 in Washington, DC. The play explores the history and heritage of WoodlawnCemetery, the final resting place of 36,000 extraordinary Americans, many lost to history, until now. The play explores the value of knowing our history and how learning our history can help us to learn about ourselves, where we’ve been and where we may be going.

The Good Neighbor
YPT Collaborates with Fannie Mae to Premiere Community Play on Homelessness

Update: On June 24, 2011, YPT was excited to launch the new playwriting curriculum we created with Fannie Mae in the Fall of 2010. Beginning this summer, this innovative, interactive writing curriculum is being used in classrooms throughout the nation in conjunction with Fannie Mae’s annual Help the Homeless campaign, raising awareness and involving the community in solving the issue of homelessness.
Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT) is excited to announce a new partnership with Fannie Mae’s Help the Homeless Program.  With the help of Fannie Mae, YPT has created a community play in hopes of raising public awareness to support organizations working to prevent and end homelessness in the Washington DC metropolitan area.  

Choosing Change
Spring 2009

By the students of Oak Hill Academy

Directed by David Andrew Snider

In collaboration with the students of Oak Hill Academy and Mentoring Today, this piece explores life before, during and after contact with the DC Juvenile Justice system. Through poetry, prose and interactive storytelling, this play shares the heart of those who travel through the system – and how the system is regaining its heart.
This play was made possible through the support of DC’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.



Chasing George Washington:
A White House Adventure
A world premiere Kennedy Center co-commission and co-production with the White House Historical Association

Book and lyrics by Karen Zacarías
Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma
Directed by John Vreeke

March 8-16, 2008


The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Field trips are fun, especially when your destination is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! In this charming new musical, written in part with DC students and Young Playwrights’ Theater, Dee Dee, Jose, and Annie accidentally knock George Washington out of his portrait and into real life--turning their tour into an unexpected adventure. As they try to get the nation’s first President back into his painting, the threesome encounters other famous White House residents, including Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd, Dolley Madison, and Jackie Kennedy. Together, they learn that the White House isn’t just a historic building... it’s also a home.

The Nation of Immigrants Project
Presented by Patrick Crowley and YPT

Who gets to decide who belongs in the United States of America?

Young Playwrights’ Theater and playwright Patrick Crowley, in partnership with GALA Hispanic Theatre, presented the professional premiere of The Nation of Immigrants Project.  The community was invited to readings and discussion of this new play, generated via community and in-school workshops and written by Patrick Crowley with support from the Creative Communities Fund of the National Capital Region. The evening was an exciting exploration of multiple points of view, hot button topics and great insight into one artistic process and how a community can integrate their voices and views into a work of art.   We are gratified that so many chose to join us and offer their points of view on this Nation of Immigrants.  Special thanks to GALA Hispanic Theatre.  



American Rice

The Smithsonian Institution commissioned Young Playwrights’ Theater to create an original piece on Asian American identity. YPT Program Manager Patrick Torres led six months of workshops with Asian American students through Washington, ranging in age from elementary to high School. Patrick Crowley compiled their writing into American Rice, which was performed at the Smithsonian Institutions’ Discovery Theater in May of 2007.
American Rice was also produced by the Discovery Theater again in the Spring of 2008.


African Roots Latino Soul

“What is the music inside you?”

Karen Zacarias explored this question in her innovative piece African Roots/Latino Soul. 

Students from MacFarland Middle School and Bell Multicultural High School provided original writing on their African, Latino and Caribbean heritage. Karen Zacarias molded their work into African Roots/Latino Soul presented by the Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theater in October 2006 and produced again in October 2007 in response to viewer demand.




Inspired by the National Portrait Gallery’s traveling art exhibit Retratos: 2,000 Years of Latin American Portraits, YPT’s Retratos was commissioned by the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater. 




More than 60 students from Bancroft Elementary, Oyster Elementary and Lincoln Middle school created stories, dialogues and monologues in response to the exhibit’s paintings. Students were invited to imagine the lives of those in the portraits. 

The resulting play, compiled by Karen Zacarias was a celebration of Hispanic history and culture, performed in October 2005.




Written by Bell Multicultural High School students in reaction to the Holocaust, Choices was a life-changing experience for many of its writers. 

After reading Elie Weisel’s Night and through pen-pal relationships with the Kfar HaNoar Mozenson school students in Hod HaSharon, Israel, the Bell students were inspired to express their own struggles with violence and loss. Karen Zacarias worked with them to create Choices. Students told of losing their houses to arson, and holding dying friends in their arms as a means of trying to imagine the degree of loss and sacrifice endured by those targeted during the Holocaust, as well as their resolve. 

Choices was directed by Abel Lopez and performed at Theater J in 2004. 




Holy Ghosts: Stories from Meridian Hill

Working with Washington Parks and People, students in YPT’s After-School program explored Meridian Hill Park, an urban jewel in the midst of Washington, DC and a setting for many historic events. 


Students interviewed community members about their experiences and memories of the park.



Their play Holy Ghosts: Stories from Meridian Hill was performed in Meridian Hill Park in 2001 by professional actors. 

Special Projects Photo Album

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Special Projects photos on Flickr.