Young Playwrights in Process

If you’re an Indiana student in 6-12 grade, we want to hear from you. Whether you’re a seasoned playwright, or you've never seen a live theatre production, we know you have a story to tell. 

Maybe it’s about you. Maybe it’s about someone you know. Maybe it’s about somewhere that doesn’t even exist yet. But it’s there. And we want to help you bring it to life. 

Young Playwrights in Process (YPIP) is an annual playwriting competition for Indiana students in grades 6-12. The competition was created in 2005 through the Margot L. and Robert S. Eccles Trust, and sponsored in collaboration with IRT. YPIP encourages middle and high school students across Indiana to create plays for live theatre that reflect and challenge their world.

Scripts will be read by theatre and writing professionals who’ll look at your storytelling, dialogue, characters and plot. All students will receive feedback on their script. A selection of top scorers will be invited to our Next Level Workshop to work on playwriting skills and hone their scripts for semi-final submission. Judges will then choose six Semi-Finalists (including both middle and high school submissions) to attend a weekend workshop where IRT’s professional actors will read your play out loud, and you’ll work one-on-one with directors and playwrights. This will get you ready to tune up your play and turn it in for Finalist selection. Plus, all Semi-Finalists win $100 cash and a $500 scholarship to IRT Summer Workshops.

Two Finalists (one high school, one middle school) win a workshop of their play and a full public, professional reading at the Final Event and Reception. Both Finalists will also win $1000 cash and a $1000 scholarship to IRT Summer Workshops.

Important dates for ypip 2019

Submission Deadline: September 24, 2019

  • Submit your plays below using the online form. Pay close attention to rules for formatting!

Next Level Workshop: October 19, 2019

  • A selection of top scorers from all submissions are invited to this one day workshop to learn more from a professional playwright. All Next Level participants are invited to re-submit their plays for semi-finals. 

Semi-Finalist Weekend: November 22 and 23, 2019

  • The top 6 plays, including both middle and high school, will be invited to further develop their scripts with IRT professionals as well as hear their play read by professional actors. All semi-finalists are invited to re-submit their plays for finals.

Finalist Workshop/Final Event: January 11, 2020

  • The two winning plays, one middle school and one high school, will be presented with a public reading by professional actors. Excerpts from the select semi-finalist scripts will also be presented.

Please note that to be eligible for semi-finals and finals, students MUST be available for all scheduled workshops and events.

Special Offer for teachers!

If your classroom or home school co-op pledges to submit at least five (5) scripts to the YPiP program, we'll offer you a FREE Artist in the Classroom visit to help your young playwrights start or focus their pieces. For more details about this offer, contact Randy D. Pease at 317.916.4842 or

Tips and guidelines

Make your play about something important to you. Tell a story. Create memorable characters. Make things happen. For the most successful script, put your emphasis on a carefully crafted plot, interesting character development and a meaningful theme.


  • Plays must be one-acts, 10-to-15 double-spaced pages (about 15-20 minutes) in length.
  • Plays must be original works. No adaptations, musicals, or screenplays.
  • Students must be enrolled full time in middle school, high school or home school. Grades 6-12.
  • Students may work together as co-playwrights; however, all writers must be eligible fulltime students. Prizes will be divided between joint authors. Choose one student to serve as the submitter.
  • In the event of a tie the IRT reserves the right to redistribute prizes.
  • Students may submit more than one play; up to a total of three submissions per student.
  • The title page should only include the TITLE of the play. DO NOT put the author’s names on the title page. 
  • All pages must be numbered.
  • The online YPiP entry form must be completed with each submission.
  • Your email must be from a web- or ISP-based service (i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, Comcast, SBC Global). School-based emails may not be accepted.
  • Documents should be submitted as Word files (.docx or .doc). If your school uses Google Apps, students should save their documents before attaching to the submission form. Links to Google Docs cannot be opened and will be disqualified. 
  • Any entries not meeting the above requirements will be disqualified.


  1. Write about something that you care about passionately.
  2. Write a conflict that builds as the play progresses. As you structure the conflict, give your play a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  3. Remember the idea of cause and effect. Each event in your play should have an effect on the world of the play, which leads to the next event.
  4. Write characters who want something (which puts them in conflict with other characters) and who spend every moment of the play trying to get what they want.
  5. Make sure that each of your characters has something at stake, a price to pay, a consequence to suffer if they don’t get what they want.
  6. Give every major character a character arc, a journey, something to learn. They should end up someplace different from where they began.
  7. Make your play about something. A good play says something to humanity about humanity.
  8. Write believable dialogue that advances the plot and illuminates your characters at the same time.
  9. Make your play theatrical – a story that would only be told in the theatre and no place else.
  10. Always remember, writing is rewriting. Keep polishing and looking for ways to make the play better.

click here to submit your script