How many of you find joy dancing in the house, snapping images for #instagram or singing in the car? Maybe you dig stop-motion animation or telling jokes.

Creative expression is powerful. It is portable joy. It is an emotional release for most. A necessary outlet for some. A confidence builder, a skill shaper and friend maker.

Creative writing is like singing or dancing. It is self-expression. You can take it with you anywhere. You can keep it private or you can share it publicly. It is free and it is there for your deployment anytime, at any age.

Do you know a young person, age 13-18?

Is that young person quiet but wise beyond her years? A “non-traditional” learner? The creative kid that would jump at the chance to enter her work, or the fella who is always telling stories? Maybe he is the kid that is always up for something new or digs arts over sports?

Then encourage any and all to try creative writing.

The Young Playwrights Festival offers high school students an outlet for self-exploration, expression and growth.

Students submit a one-act play and six entrants are chosen to see their plays performed on the City Opera House stage.

An idea is all they need to get started.

The opportunity is free and available to all Michigan high school students.

They are not expected to be polished writers.

The program is designed to allow youth to stretch their interest and explore.

Play entries are nine to 12 pages of script with no more than three characters.

Students can write their one-act play in a weekend, a night, during a vacation.

The average entrant writes their initial draft in under five hours and the internet offers quick access on “How to.”

Do you think your student will need more incentive to give it a try? The six finalists are paired with a national playwright mentor and get to see their play performed live on the City Opera House stage in April 2020. For the procrastinator, entry does not close until mid-December.

For the kid who likes accolades or asks, “What’s in it for me?” there is an awards ceremony and $100 for finalists.

For the “people person,” the mentor piece builds strong relationships (secret tip: many finalists say they are motivated by the opportunity to see their play presented on stage to the community).

For the shy one, it’s a safe way to express oneself without being on stage, in the spotlight.

Grab a tablet, notepad or voice recorder.

Tack a sticky note on it saying, “I believe in you. Check out CityOperaHouse.org/ypf.” Then lend it to a young person.

Everyone has something to write about.

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