Expanding YPT’s Playwright Community

July 21, 2022

YPT Artistic Director Farah Lawal Harris talks about her new connection to local playwright Tom Minter and her intention to include playwrights of all ages in script development and opportunity access at YPT.

Playwright Tom Minter’s selected conversations about theater and his artistry. Watch the conversation with Farah Lawal Harris, Tom Minter, Angelisa Gilyard, and more.

In my tenure as Artistic Director of YPT, I’ve prided myself in being innovative, responsive, and supportive of the journeys of young playwrights. Before the pandemic, YPT’s production team’s main focus was producing the Silence Is Violence performance series and supporting new play development through Young Playwrights in Progress. But a question nagged at me:

How do we expand our work to include younger and older playwrights?

Then an answer came to me by way of local playwright and teaching artist Tom Minter. Tom emailed me a portion of his autobiographical script, By Me You’ll Never Know; Tom describes his play as one that “speaks to dynamic issues of class, caste, fear of ‘otherness’…and…the weight of legacy in the ‘undiscussed’ of black culture.” I was moved by the script and spent the subsequent months brainstorming ways for YPT to connect with Tom’s work. When he shared with me that an excerpt of his play would be presented during The Gathering, an event hosted by The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, I saw an opportunity. I offered to facilitate the pre and post-performance discussions and Tom happily accepted.

Working with Tom in this way helped crystallize my goal of connecting with local playwrights of all ages and levels of experience. Theater is a collaborative art; it benefits all theatre artists to find ways to connect and support one another. I’m excited to expand YPT’s connection with DMV playwrights in the coming seasons through creative collaboration. I’m thankful to Tom for watering the seed of this idea and I can’t wait to watch it grow.