Baltimore Center Stage: Young Playwrights Festival

Young Playwrights Festival

Young Playwrights Festival: Ball of Confusion

Illustration by Evangeline Gallagher


Friday, May 18 at 6:30pm in The Head Theater

The Young Playwrights Festival, a Baltimore Center Stage tradition for over 31 years, welcomes 10-minute play submissions from across the state of Maryland around this year's theme, "Ball of Confusion." Six young playwrights will be chosen to have their plays workshopped with professionals and then fully produced at Baltimore Center Stage in our newly renovated Head Theater. Four runners up will have in-school readings of their plays by professional actors.

This event is FREE with a $5 suggested donation. Seating is limited, and tickets are required.

Tickets are available here.

For more information about this and other Baltimore Center Stage Education Programs, call 410.986.4050 or email

Winners will be announced soon.

About YPF

  • The Young Playwrights Festival (YPF) has been our flagship education program for over 31 years.
  • We have our own terrific curriculum—full of playful exercises to help students create.
  • At the start of the school year, we embed our professional teaching artists in partner schools across the state of Maryland.
  • In six sessions, our professional teaching artist will lead your class of up to 25 students through the play-writing process; producing short plays that can be submitted to the annual Young Playwrights Festival competition.
  • Students in grades 1-12 are given tools to communicate their ideas, develop characters, write dialogue, and shape their stories.
  • Classroom teachers find new ways to engage students in writing.
  • In January, we invite and receive hundreds of play submissions from participants in our residencies, and many more from students across the state.
  • Every submitting playwright is sent constructive feedback.
  • In the spring, up to 5 plays are chosen to receive a professional production at Baltimore Center Stage.
  • Up to 10 plays are chosen to receive a professional staged reading at their schools.
  • All Young Playwrights Festival honorees are assigned a mentor to help them refine and edit their scripts before the plays are presented.
  • YPF is aligned with Common Core Learning Standards in ELA. 
  • YPF residencies require a school partnership agreement, and close collaboration with a classroom teacher.

Young Playwrights Festival (YPF) Residency Program


In six sessions, our professional teaching artist will lead your class of up to 25 students through the playwriting process; producing short plays that can be submitted to the annual Young Playwrights Festival competition.

Only $600 per YPF residency (6 sessions)

A limited number of Young Playwrights Festival Residencies are offered FREE to under-resourced public schools in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, by application.


To bring a YPF Teaching Artist to your classroom, or to apply for a YPF school scholarship, please complete the online application form.

To learn more about YPF, email or call 410.986.4051.

YPF residencies are offered, in part, through a contract with VSA Kennedy Center. 


YPF Honoree Play Synopses 2017

Staged Honorees


Alia Zahra Colón Zerhouni
The Little Kiwi
Grade 2, Bryn Mawr School, Howard County

It’s never easy to move to a new place, especially if you’re a Little Kiwi. With grouchy neighbors and funny new smells, nothing feels like home. But with a little courage, and a lot of love, Little Kiwi might just find a way to fit in.


Zoe San Luis, Zeke Hickman, Adriyona Reese, and Joshua Salazar Alvarado
In the Village
Grade 4, Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School, Baltimore City

In a small, quiet village, the people fear their invading neighbors, the Raiders. In the meantime, their greedy King hatches a plan that seems certain to endanger the people. With only each other to rely on, the villagers band together to protect their homes, their families, and their lives. 


Jaya Connor, Dominick Anderson, Eva Hauf, Brian Jaegar, Kate Jacob, and Seydou Tounkara
When Pigs Fly
Grade 6, Chevy Chase Elementary School, Montgomery County

Four-year-old Josiah has one dream in his young life: to ride a pig. His spoiled sister also dreams of a pig, that she can turn into a pigskin coat. When she takes Josiah to a pig race, he realizes that his dream can only come true at the expense of his sister's. Along the way, they both learn lessons from two zany competitors in the race, down-on-their-luck drifters with dreams of their own.


Ruth Dawit
Grade 7, City Neighbors Public Charter School, Baltimore City

Carter and May feel lost and alone after the death of their father. Maureen, their mother, struggles to care for her kids or herself, numbing her pain with alcohol. Although everything seems broken, each of them dreams of feeling loved and accepted; and with courage and hope, maybe this shattered family can begin to put the pieces back together again.


Julianna Gross
Grade 10, Sherwood High School, Montgomery County

Jimmy dreads coming to class, where every day he gets bullied by Biff and Billy. Only Maya, his bold and mischievous classmate, comforts Jimmy, telling tales of her adventures and encouraging him with her poetry. With her help, Jimmy might just stand up to the bullies and be as brave as Maya. 


Miguel Fernandez
Pasta Night
Grade 12, Centennial High School, Howard County

After a rough day, at the end of a tough week, Noah wants to treat his young wife Emily to a special Pasta Night. But there is more lurking behind this simple meal than either of them realizes, or lets on; and as we watch their day unfold in reverse, we realize how much each moment can be filled with all the little moments that precede, and follow, it—and sometimes what is unspoken says more than words.


In-School Honorees


Dean Gedansky
Digital Escape
Grade 5, Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore City

In a futuristic world where virtual realities have merged with real life, Max lives immersed in technology. It all seems more fun than ever, until Max's friends start to go missing. Will he discover where they’ve gone before it’s too late?


Sophie Marano
The Bad Llamas
Grade 5, St. Paul’s School for Girls, Baltimore City

At the Bad Llama School, everyone is excited about the 50-millionth-anniversary party of Headmaster Chris. Everyone, that is, but Bob the Llama, who’s waited millions of years to be headmaster. With the help of his llama friend Larry, Bob plots to expose the Headmaster and finally assume his rightful place as head of school.


Antonio Erdas
The Coolest Glasses
Grade 5, Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore City

Mr. Avocado dreams of being cooler and cooler. So when the newest, coolest sunglasses are advertised in the paper at army headquarters, he plots to steal them. But just when he thinks his plan will work, Mr. Avocado gets a big surprise.


Patrick Karaska
Did You Hear?
Grade 7, City Neighbors Public Charter School, Baltimore City

Trevor Wolf is having a bad day, and he’s not sure why. After all, Trevor hates all the evil in the world, and tries to live a kindly life: greeting his neighborhood barista, helping a lost elderly woman, and comforting his sad bank teller. So why don’t things seem to be going right for Trevor? It only gets worse when he finds out that there’s a man on the run for murder....


Rory Cahill
Half-Animals: Animal Spirit
Grade 7, The Auburn School, Baltimore County

In a parallel universe, on a planet very similar to our own, children will, on rare occasions, fuse with their animal soulmates to become half-human, half-animal. But the tenuous balance of peace and harmony is threatened by the power-hungry General Ursus, who is jealous of the ability to morph from human to animal and back again. Seven extraordinary children from all over the world band together to save nature and civilization from the General’s hateful regime.


Gabriela Rivera
Back to Reality
Grade 7, Sisters Academy, Baltimore County

It’s the year 3094, and President Carl has brainwashed all of the citizens of Lavania to forget what freedom and equality are. Maya and her friends—sick of only being allowed to work as babysitters and cleaners because they are girls—do a bit of snooping as they clean President Carl’s office. When they stumble upon artifacts from the past, they team up with other determined allies to bring the country back to reality.


Hannah Ezell
The Real Housewives of Colonial America
Grade 8, Harford Day School, Harford County

In a comic fusion of reality television and colonial America, Martha—"the only relatively normal person here”—does all she can to provide for her family in the challenging conditions of the American colonies. It is hard enough to put food on the table as a single parent while her husband is off fighting the British; Martha also has to contend with rich, devious housewives hungry for power and deliriously shallow.


Hannah Ellison
Present in Absentia
Grade 9, The SEED School of Maryland, Baltimore City

In the 50 years since they said “I do,” James and Ethel have built a life together filled with love and contentment. In this haunting and poetic story of the inevitable grief we all face, we see that even in their absence, our loved ones never completely leave us.


Khloe Quill
The Devil in the Library
Grade 12, Governor Thomas Johnson High School, Frederick County

A small town in the 1940s American South has a big secret. Young Charlotte the librarian finds her suspicions growing when an apartment complex in an African-American neighborhood burns to the ground. Race, power, and violence converge with small-town relationships and politics as the secrets hidden within the library’s walls come to light.


Jason Fontelieu
Worker B
Grade 12, Dulaney High School, Baltimore County

Brianna works hard as the assistant to a high profile and highly demanding, but highly secretive, boss. While Brianna keeps busy day and night, she's hiding her dreams of being a singer and trying to navigate her secret crush on a close friend. All of these secrets finally to come to a head, with a rousing song and dance number sure to get everybody up and grooving.



The Kennedy Center VSA