Plays by Young Writers

Sponsored by the Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky Family Fund

Our 34th season of winning plays from the
2018 California Young Playwrights Contest

January 10 - 12 & 22 - 26, 2019
The Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre
in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at The Old Globe

Plays by Young Writers is produced by Playwrights Project in association with The Old Globe.
Winners of the 2018 California Young Playwrights Contest were announced on Saturday, September 29th.

Buy Tickets Now for:
Opening Night: January 12 at 7:30PM
Program A: Jan. 26 at 7:30PM
Program B: Jan. 25 at 7:30PM | Jan. 26 at 2:00PM

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Program A

Recommended for Ages 11+
Directed by Ruff Yeager



Trash! The Musical (An Autobiography)

By Naomi Melville
Age 17, Sabre Springs
Trash jumps out of the can to find its purpose in this heartwarming musical.

Composition mentoring from alumnus Thomas Hodges


Just Let Me Help

By Marco Herrera
Age 14, Imperial Beach
and Chris Johnson
Age 14, Imperial Beach
Financial difficulties are exposed when a father and son go camping.


Program B

Recommended for Ages 14+
Directed by George Yé


Sea of Fog

By Jack Ventimilia
Age 16, Studio City
Two outsiders struggle to understand religion in a modern world.

A Mother's Mother

By Emma Kuli
Age 18, Villa Park
A teen's pregnancy reveals the true bond between mother and daughter.


Have Hope

By Shyla de Hoop
Age 11, Rolando
Two cats embark on a journey to find their missing mother.



Festival Schedule

Thursday, January 10
10:00 AM
Program A
Friday, January 11
10:00 AM
Program B
Saturday, January 12
7:30 PM
Opening Night *
Wednesday, January 16
10:00 AM
Program A
Tuesday, January 22
10:00 AM
Program A
Wednesday, January 23
10:00 AM
Program A
Thursday, January 24
10:00 AM
Program B
Friday, January 25
10:00 AM
Program A
Friday, January 25
7:30 PM
Program B
Saturday, January 26
2:00 PM
Program B
Saturday, January 26
7:30 PM
Program A

Please call (858) 384-2970 for group bookings.

*Opening Night features the three Full Productions and includes a post-performance reception. Proceeds help support Playwrights Project.

If you have a gift certificate please call to redeem. Gift certificates are not available for use online.

Weekday matinees (10am) are primarily booked with school groups, with limited availability for the general public.
Please call (858) 384-2970 to check availability.

Please note that online ticket sales end twelve hours prior to the performance.
After this time, remaining tickets will be available for purchase at the theatre.

Ticket Prices

To buy tickets, select a date in the calendar above, or call (858) 384-2970.

Individual Tickets $25.00
Student $20.00
Senior (65+) $20.00
Military $20.00
School Groups of 10 or More $10.00
Other Groups of 10 or More $15.00
Opening Night* $60.00

Please call (858) 384-2970 for group bookings.


Cecelia Kouma Executive Producer
Ruff Yeager Festival Artistic Director & Producer
  Director - Progam A
  Dramaturg- Trash! The Musical
George Yé Director - Program B
  Dramaturg - Sea of Fog

Mabelle Reynoso

Dramaturg - Just Let Me Help
Deborah Salzer Dramaturg- A Mother's Mother

Aleta Barthell

Dramaturg - Have Hope
Leigh Akin Assistant Producer
Dominique Duren Production Stage Manager
Alyssa Castillo Assistant Stage Manager
Jordyn Smiley Costume Design
Chloe Clark Lighting Design
Mike Buckley Properties & Scenic Design
Justin Livengood Sound Design
Michelle Gray Musical Director & Accompanist
Thomas Hodges Composition Mentor
Dana Maue Choreographer
Emily Fleet Opening Night Events Director
Nicole Hernandez Box Office & Marketing Manager

Press Materials

View the Plays by Young Writers Press Release


Playwrights Project gratefully acknowledges major support for this program from:

Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky Family Fund

City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture
Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust

California Arts Council

Additional support provided by:
Community Service Association of San Diego Unified School District
The Samuel I. & John Henry Fox Foundation
Kinder Morgan Foundation
Kiwanis Club of La Jolla
Arthur and Jeanette Pratt Memorial Fund
The Qualcomm Foundation
The San Diego County Community Enhancement Program
District 4 (Ron Roberts)
Torrey Pines Bank
U.S. Bank

FINAL Judges

Many thanks to the acclaimed theatre artists below who lent their expertise to selecting the winners of this year's contest:

Rachael Van Wormer
Playwrights Project Contest Coordinator

Deborah Salzer
Playwrights Project Founder

Peter Cirino
San Diego State University Theatre Professor & TuYo Co-Founder

Thelma Virata de Castro
San Diego Playwrights Founder

Cecelia Kouma
Playwrights Project Executive Director

Danielle Mages Amato
Literary Manager at The Old Globe Theatre

Veronica Murphy
Artistic Director & Co-Founder of Write Out Loud

Ruff Yeager
Co-Founder of Roustabouts Theatre & Adjunct Professor at Southwestern College


Special thanks to the theatre professionals who helped rank and review the scripts in this year's contest- we couldn't have done it without you!


Playwrights Project is a partnering organization in the San Diego Symphony's fourth annual Hearing the Future Festival. The San Diego Symphony's Festival, which runs January 9-27, 2019 and is curated by Matthew Aucoin, explores the power of music and art to give voice to the evolution and revolutions in the world at large. As a partner, the Plays by Young Writers Festival's mission goes hand in hand with that of Hearing the Future, by empowering young writers to share their voices and stories with the world.

Festival partners include local and national organizations and venues: American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), Art of Élan, ARTS (A Reason to Survive), Festival of New Trumpet Music West, Fresh Sound, IDEA1, kallisti, James Beauton and Justin Morrison, La Jolla Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, Malashock Dance, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), Playwrights Project, San Diego Dance Theater, Sandbox and Saville Theatre, San Diego City College, and Vanguard Culture.

Tickets are currently on sale for San Diego Symphony performances. For more festival information or to purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at (619) 235-0804. View the Hearing the Future Press Release here.