The Cartography of Young Playwrights

By: Julia Hark, poet & playwright

Art is a pervasive medium of expression that spans across all boundaries-political, social, geographical, and racial. Between writing, theatre, performance, graphic design, animation, and various other forms of creativity, art offers something for everyone, fostering innate human connection unlike any other discipline.

Teaching artist and Director of Education for Writers Theatre of New Jersey, Jim DeVivo, recognized and sought to develop this uniting nature of art through his creation of a global Young Playwrights Map. DeVivo began exploring the history and development of young playwrights programming in the US at the start of his doctoral study in Educational Theatre in NYU, which focuses on the future work and education of young playwrights. Students under 19 years old have been able to participate in various events for playwriting at both the regional and national level for over forty years, with new programs emerging every year all over the nation. DeVivo created an online map that documents all of the opportunities for young playwrights in an attempt to organize them into an interactive, cohesive resource. Each marker on the map features the name of each program, as well as contact information, forum details, submission criteria, and years in existence.

Jim DeVivo’s ongoing effort to comprise student playwriting programs into a single, visual aide is an incredible contribution to arts education. His work in artistic literacy provides valuable encouragement to young theatrical writers and artists throughout our increasingly global society.