Young Playwrights Unit

Past YPUs

Young Playwrights Unit 2021

Led by Makram Ayache, our three YPU participants – Jordan M Burns, Rose Goodwin, and Jameela McNeil – presented virtual staged readings of three amazing new works!
Play Overviews:
A Pineberry’s Past – a play by Jordan M. Burns
What would you do if half of you was drowning? Living in a perpetual fog, Mixed, half-white, and half-indigenous, attempts to share the story of their life over a home-cooked meal in their childhood kitchen. A place of joy, family, decay, and silence; Mixed is left gasping for a community of their own. Trying to navigate the present while negotiating the vicious memories of times gone by, Mixed finds themselves putting on a show one last time.”
Hermaphroditus – by Rose Goodwin
Hermaphroditus is an exploration of queerness, belonging, and visibility. It takes the Greek gods and puts them into our world, focusing on the relationships between the gods and gender. This play is an intimate look at what transness looks in relation to one’s relationships, life’s work, and belonging in the world. Hermaphroditus is found by Charlico and finally finds their place on earth with other queers. As they find themselves, they recognize that trans folks are under attack, leaving the safety of earth to take their rightful seat on Olympus. Will the pantheon have room for another Goddex? 
Orange Skies by Jameela McNeil
Samira is trying to move on. Engrossed in the frivolous tasks at her joyless housekeeping job, she distracts herself from a lost dream, her mother’s worsening condition, and the boy who stole her heart one hot summer night in 1957. When a new love comes knocking at her door she is plagued by memories of her first love and a night that changed her forever. As she relives the secret affair in her mind, she is confronted with a difficult decision. Rectify the past or continue to run from it?
Playwright: Rose Goodwin 
Director: Cole Alvis
Hermaphroditus – Avery-Jean Brenan
Charlico – Jacob MacInnis
Hera – Rachel Cairns
Zeus – Titus Androgynous
A Pineberry’s Past
Playwright: Jordan M. Burns
Director: Christopher Stanton
Mixed – Herbie Barns
Orange Skies
Playwright: Jameela McNeil
Director: Natércia Napoleão
Samira – Hillary Warden
Maria – Sarah Nairne
River – Oscar Dirkx

For the first time ever Tarragon facilitated a YPU Extended Cohort and provided an additional 37 young playwrights with writing and dramaturgical support.   

Young Playwrights Unit 2020

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the public readings for the Young Playwrights Unit 2020 had to be cancelled. We were thrilled to engage in the creation process with Dhanish Kumar Chinniah, Augusta Monet, and Aisling (Aly) Murphy.

 What the YPU Offered:

→ Writing sessions, with instructors Paula Wing, Caitie Graham, and Eva Barrie provided an opportunity for guided material generation and revision through creation, discussion and critique.

→ Exercises and assignments tailored to the specific needs and interests of each participant.

→ Dramaturgical support spanning the duration of the YPU (January-June 2020). 

→ Participants were connected with various theatre professionals and Tarragon staff. 

→ Participants were given FREE tickets to Tarragon shows.

Young Playwrights Unit 2019

Staged Reading Series

Saturday June 1stand Sunday June 2nd in the Tarragon Workspace.

Inspired by new play development practices at Tarragon, the Young Playwrights Unit (YPU) is a free training experience for young people who are curious and passionate about play-making. Each year, the program provides a group of dedicated young writers the rigorous context in which to develop some of their first works. After six months of development, our 2019 YPU is ready to present their work here Tarragon, with the support of our generous team of directors and actors.

Download the Online Program Here.


Saturday June 1st @ 2:00pm, Tarragon Workspace

Playwright: Magda Uculmana-Falcon

Director: Lisa Karen Cox

Cast: Meghan Aguirre, Rosina Ferede, Alyssa Pothier, and Brianna Wright

A physical altercation in a classroom, between a teacher and a black, female student, goes viral. Friends of the student involved seek justice on her behalf, but then BOOM! Another incident at the school grabs the world’s attention, and thwarts their pursuit. BOOM! is a play about three black, teenage girls, trying to be heard in an institution that won’t listen.


Saturday June [email protected] 8:00pm, Tarragon Workspace

Playwright: Araceli Ferrara
Director: Rosa Labordé

Cast: Katarina Fiallos, Kathy Martinez, Adriana Moraes-Mendoza, Walter Moraes-Mendoza, Xanath Fuentes Natanson, and Dre Rivas

SOL follows the story of a woman trying to rebuild the past. Set in her memory, Sol revisits her fourteen-year-old self during the 1973 coup d’état in Chile, when political tensions threatened the fragile bonds of family. SOL is an exploration of memory and the things we do in order to survive.

You Better Second Line!

Sunday June [email protected] 2:00pm, Tarragon Workspace

Playwright: JD Leslie

Director: Audrey Dwyer

Cast: Meghan Aguirre, Walter Moraes-Mendoza, and Pablo Ogunlesi

 Welcome to New Orleans! Where death is a celebration and crickets play jazz music to keep souls at rest. Brave and his cricket family welcome you with open arms to the graveyard as tonight is moon’s day; the one time of the month when souls can pass onto the other side. But what happens when a soul can’t be put to rest? What happens when you aren’t ready to move on? And what happens if there ain’t no moon? One thing’s for sure…you better second line!


3 Sisters

Sunday June [email protected] 8:00pm, Tarragon Workspace 

Playwright: Thom Nyhuus

Director: Madeleine Jullian

Cast: Alex Cameron, Victoria Carella, Ellie Ellwand, Madelaine Hodges, Daniel Reale, Lizzie Song, John Wamsley, Brianna Wright, and Sean Williams

 As their youngest sister Irina prepares to audition for the prestigious ballet company their father once led, the Prozorov children must grapple with the financial and emotional wreckage their disgraced patriarch left behind. Told over a turbulent summer in cottage country, this reimagining of Chekhov’s classic play examines legacy, gender dynamics in a shifting world, and what it means to live a life that matters.

(Left to Right)Young Playwrights: Thom Nyhuus, Magda Uculmana-Falcon, JD Leslie and Araceli Ferrara 

The 2017 Young Playwright’s Unit:

Young Playwrights: Tyisha Murphy, Sarah Hilton, Ruby Urlocker (pictured above with Caitie Graham), Sara Durante & Jenn Boulay

Instructors/Directors: Caitie Graham, Paula Wing, Marcia Johnson, Esther Jun

The 2016 Young Playwright’s Unit

Young Playwrights: Sam Beland, Zavian Buchanan, Julie Phan

Instructors/Directors: Anne Wessels, Caitie Graham, Marcia Johnson, Andrea Donaldson, Paula Wing

The 2015 Young Playwright’s Unit

Young Playwrights: Raluca Petria, Jonathan Martins, Nam Nguyen, Courtney Buxey-Hill, Chrstian Lischak

Supported by Tarragon Playwrights-in-Residence: Maria Milisavljevic, Jordan Tannahill, Anna Chatterton, David Yee

Instructors/Directors: Anne Wessels, Caitie Graham, Rashida Shaw, Marcia Johnson, Andrea Donaldson, Paula Wing

The 2014 Young Playwright’s Unit

Young Playwrights: Julie Zenderoudi, Theo Gallaro, and Erum Khan