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Jan6
Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Pegasus Theatre Chicago Presents 35th Annual Young Playwrights Festival


Pegasus Theatre Chicago is proud to announce its 35th Annual Young Playwrights Festival, streaming Jan. 6 – Feb. 6, 2022 with a virtual opening night ceremony, Sunday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. CST.

This year’s world premieres, written by high school students and given a staged professional production, share at their core, judgment in the material, mundane and mystical worlds. Tickets are $18 – $25 for unlimited viewing over four days, available at PegasusTheatreChicago.org or by phone at 773.878.8864. Educators may schedule school day virtual group matinees via ypf@pegasustheatrechicago.org.

The Young Playwrights Festival, the oldest such festival in the United States, has for 35 years engaged and inspired high school students across Chicago by teaching them to craft one-act plays. Under the auspices of Pegasus Theatre Chicago, the winning teen playwrights’ productions are work-shopped and staged by industry professionals. The cast includes John Drea, Sebastien Garbe, Willow James, MarieAnge Louis-Jean, Emma Montoya, Shariba Rivers and William Sebastian Rose, II. The in-school programming that leads to the annual competition enhances language arts, encourages independent, high-level thinking, strong personal values and influences career development for Chicago’s teens.

The competition received 300 submissions in 2021 with this year’s winning selections being Dalya Lessem Elnecave of Lane Tech College Prep and their play Fifteen Minutes, Laylah Freeman of Advanced Arts/Gallery 37 and her play The Little Things; Sarah Lerner of Whitney Young Magnet High School and her play Have Faith.

The 35th YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL includes:

The Little Things

By Laylah Freeman of Advanced Arts/Gallery 37- teacher Sarah Mostad

Directed by Christian Helem

It’s Christmas 1950, chestnuts are roasting, but Minerva Spencer is busy dodging her mother’s match-making while she mourns her deceased high school boyfriend, Ben Crawford.

Have Faith

By Sarah Lerner of Whitney Young Magnet High School-teacher Elizabeth Danesh

Directed by Ilesa Duncan

While studying a Latin homework assignment, a Catholic University student accidentally summons a demon to her dorm room.

Fifteen Minutes

By Dalya Lessem Elnecave of Lane Tech College Prep-teacher Kirsten Hanson

Directed by Ruben Carrazana

Five people in a park must frantically decide what to do when receiving devastating news.

Cast members include John Drea, Sebastien Garbe, Willow James, MarieAnge Louis-Jean, Emma Marie Montoya, Shariba Rivers and William Anthony Sebastian Rose II.

Pegasus Theatre Chicago has been a mainstay in the Chicago theater community for more than four decades. Its mission is to champion new, authentic voices and produce boldly imaginative theatre primarily by and about black, indigenous or other people of color (BIPOC). The company promotes cultural equity while celebrating diversity, inclusion and first voice and is committed to initiating important conversations through the arts with strong community engagement and socially relevant programming, including the Young Playwrights Festival for high school-age scribes, which celebrates its 35th year this season. Pegasus Theatre Chicago has received 77 Joseph Jefferson Awards since its inception.


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