Thanks to the Young Playwrights’ Theater, thousands of D.C. school children every year receive a crash course in dramatic writing. Through its In-School Playwriting Program, the organization encourages students to connect with their inner dramatists and explore their ideas—and while it’s unclear if the next Arthur Miller is buried within their ranks, the resulting works always boast a high entertainment value. From the more than 1,000 student scripts authored this year, 15 will be performed and directed by professionals at YPT’s New Play Festival. Works by elementary-school students fill the first two nights of the festival, but closing night highlights work by middle and high school students, whose plays cover everything from family life to time travel to bullying. The students remain involved in the process, collaborating with their directors, actors, and dramaturgs to turn out mini masterpieces that aren’t as gloomy as Broadway fare but just as engrossing. The festival runs April 20 to 22 at GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 387-9173. youngplaywrightstheater.org.

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