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Chautauqua Institution is proud to partner with the Chautauqua Theater Company to present an interactive, three-part playwriting project for area third and fourth grade students from C. C. Ring Elementary School (Jamestown), S.G. Love Elementary (Jamestown), Chautauqua Lake, Westfield, and Panama Elementary Schools. The Young Playwrights Project is based on Florida Studio Theatre’s Write-A-Play program, now in its 28th year. In the first stage of the project, teaching artists from Chautauqua Theater Company visit every third and fourth grade classroom at each school to guide students through the process of writing a play. During the second stage, students and teachers take a winter field trip to Chautauqua Institution where community and staff volunteers read each third grade student’s play aloud. Awards are given during a closing reception to celebrate each student’s efforts and creativity and recognize winning plays. The third phase of the program sees the winning plays published online by Chautauqua Institution as well as performed by our Chautauqua Theater Company mid-June. The success of this performance has led to the Young Playwrights Project winning plays being an offering on the Institution’s Family Entertainment Series. All participating schools and their families are invited onto the grounds to attend the performance! 

Watch the Young Playwrights Project 2020 Film Festival

The 2020 Film Festival is on-demand on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch. Virtual Porch events are free with registration.

For more information about the Chautauqua Theater Company


Young Playwrights Project Teachers' Guide 



Chautauqua Young Playwrights Project: Fall 2018–Summer 2019

Chautauqua Institution Young Playwrights Project at Westfield Elementary


Chautauqua Institution Young Playwrights Project at MJ Fletcher Elementary


Chautauqua Institution Young Playwrights Project


Angevine, Maggie. "Young Playrights Project goes to the moves." The Chautauquan Daily, 30 June 2020

Headley, Duard. "Young Playwright's Project Plays to Hit Stage." The Chautauquan Daily, 1 July 2019

Headley, Duard. "Young Playwright's Project Fosters Confidence in Kids." The Chautauquan Daily, 22 June 2019

"'Dream Come True' Young Playwrights Awarded at Chautauqua Institution" The Post-Journal, 28 April 2019

Patterson, Jordan. "Taking Up The Pen." The Post-Journal, 26 Oct. 2018

Steinberg, Matthew. "Goldin Foundation for Excellence in Education awards Chautauqua Institution arts education Exemplary Projects Award." The Chautauquan Daily, 1 Aug. 2018

"Fletcher Elementary Students Awarded Young Playwight Awards." The Post-Journal, 27 June 2018

Steinberg, Matthew. "DFT Communications continues sponsorship of Family Entertainment Series, by funding today's Young Playwrights." The Chautauquan Daily, 25 June 2018

Vestal, Kevin. “Family Entertainment Series opens with Young Playwrights Project, showcasing imagination of local elementary schoolers.” The Chautauquan Daily, 25 June 2018

McCarthy, Kathleen. “Young Playwrights.” Lakeside Ledger, 22 Feb. 2018: 1 Lakeside Ledger. Web. 22 February 2018.

Paterniti, Gavin. “Area Students Convene at Chautauqua for Young Playwrights Project.” The Post-Journal, 2 Feb. 2018: 1. The Post-Journal. Web. 2 Feb. 2018

Ingersoll, Ali. “Student playwrights see pieces come to life at festival.” WVIB.com, 1 Feb. 2018. Web 2 Feb 2018.

Moore, Deborah Sunya. Young Playwrights Project video. Facebook, 31 Jan. 2018, 4:50 p.m.

McBride, Dara. "CTC performs 14 student works from Young Playwrights Project." The Chautauquan Daily, 26 June 2017

Wilby, Meaghan. "Two friends help sponsor Young Playwrights Program to honor their friendship." The Chautauquan Daily, 26 June 2017 

Fuller, Katrina. "Fletcher Third-Grader Wins Young Playwrights Festival Award." The Post-Journal, 27 April 2017

Oliver, Georgeanne. "CTC Brings Young Playwrights' Works to Life." The Chautauquan Daily, 28 June 2016

"Young Playwrights Project Holds Student Performance of Winning Local Plays." The Post-Journal, 21 June 2016

"From Paper to Stage." The Post-Journal, 20 Feb. 2016


Katie McGerrKatherine McGerr is a director and teaching artist who is honored to be in her fifth year with the Chautauqua Young Playwrights Project. She has worked with Chautauqua Theater Company since 2006 in various positions, including director, literary manager and artistic associate. Katherine is an assistant professor in the Syracuse University Department of Drama; she previously taught at Allegheny College and served as a director and teaching artist with Yale School of Drama’s Dwight/Edgewood Project. Recent directing credits include: The Baltimore Waltz, Laura and the Sea, Julius Caesar (Syracuse University); The Second Shepherds’ Play (Colgate College/Syracuse University); Building the Wall (Chautauqua Theater Company New Play Workshop Series); Measure for Measure (PlayMakers Rep); A Dream Play (Allegheny College). Katherine is a graduate of Columbia University and the Eugene O’Neill National Theater Institute; she holds an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama.

blake segal high res 2

Blake Segal (Music) is a NYC-based performer and educator. National Tour: Mary Poppins. Regional: The Corn Is Green (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (The Old Globe); Noises Off (Syracuse Stage); Nerds (Philadelphia Theatre Company, Barrymore Award Nomination); Romeo and Juliet, POP!, Rough Crossing (Yale Repertory Theatre); Carousel (Paper Mill Playhouse); AmadeusMacbethThe Winter's Tale (Chautauqua Theater Company); Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (PlayMakers Repertory Company); Into the West (Tantrum Theater); Good People (The Public Theatre, ME). NYC: Bones in the Basket (Araca Project); Les Enfants de Paris (NYMF); Frogs (Fault Line Theatre). Concert: Swan Lake (Original Cast, Hollywood Chamber Orchestra). TV: Blue Bloods. Education: University of Virginia (B.A.) and Yale School of Drama (M.F.A.). Please visit www.blakesegal.com for more.

Kelsey Deroian

Kelsey Deroian is a recent graduate from the University of California Irvine where she received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting. Her favorite credits include playing Dolly in One Man, Two Guvnors (Chautuaqua Theater Company), Ellis Veritas in the short film Titanica (Blood Brothers Cinema), Kristin in the short pilot Recipe for Disaster (Dodge Film Productions) and Paulinka in A Bright Room Called Day (UC Irvine). She has also enjoyed work behind the scenes such as: teaching undergraduates at UC Irvine, working as a casting intern at Conan O’Brien and an intern at a Talent Agency. She recently had the pleasure of performing in Young Playwrights Project this past summer and is excited to get to work on the development of the project this go around.


Adam Coy is a NYC-based Tejano actor and director. Regional: Romeo and Juliet (Westport Country Playhouse). NYC: Southern Promises, Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill,Fill (The Flea); Lilia (New Dramatists); Syracuse University: Laura and the Sea, Constellations, Measure for Measure. Recent directing: Zabelle, Crave (Access Theater); Pterodactyls (Syracuse University). Directing Observer/Assistant (Chay Yew, The Public Theater). He is a founding member and artistic associate of Egg & Spoon Theater Collective, a member of the SDC Foundation Observership Class (18-19), a resident actor at The Flea Theater, and an SDC Associate Member. Education: Syracuse University, BFA Acting.