A retrospective look at YPT’s foundation

December 9, 2022

Former Director of the Fillmore Arts Center Pat Mitchell talks about her connection to our past and YPT’s growth.

As we reimagine and reshape what YPT will look like in the future, getting a past perspective can help give us a feel of where we’ve been and how far we’ve come already.

In her 27 years of service as the Director of the Fillmore Arts Center, Pat Mitchell fondly remembers hiring one specific person integral to YPT’s history to teach playwriting to the center’s students.

“It became a miracle for these kids,” said Mitchell. “She had a way with them where she could just tell what they were thinking by how they moved.”

That teacher was Karen Zacarías, founder of YPT. Zacarías started YPT knowing the impact arts education could have on young people.

Mitchell said Zacarías was one of the first teachers at the center to treat the students like adult professionals. Treating them with a professional attitude gave these students a different way to think about themselves and a confidence they hadn’t had before.

“They began writing these intense plays,” Mitchell said. “Their writing became about things they had never talked about with anyone before and were truly thought-provoking.”

Mitchell said Zacarías had a special way of connecting with students, a trait she still sees in YPT today. She said even through the pandemic, YPT made great strides in keeping up with ways to connect with students.

Mitchell said she admires the way YPT has worked through the years to sustain and build on its values and mission, all of which started with Zacarías.

“I admire what Young Playwrights’ Theater has done to sustain the objectives of the group,” Mitchell said. “I just really think since the inception to the present has been amazing. You can’t imagine a better organization with better values and a better mission for children.”

As you support various organizations and charities this giving season, we hope you’ll choose to include YPT in your giving, and that you will help further the values and practices YPT engages in every day to chart a bright future for our students and our community.

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