Interview with George Yé, Director of Plays by Young Writers’ Program B

Playwrights Project will produce its 34th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at The Old Globe on January 10 – 12 & 22 – 26, 2019. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 415 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and two scripts will receive staged readings in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

Program B Director and Sea of Fog Dramaturg George Yé  is Chair of Drama at San Diego Mesa College, a fight choreographer, and member of AEA. Previous Plays by Young Writers productions include: Idiot I’m Great, Fire Hazard, Hackathon, The Supermarket of Lost, The Acquittal, The Tangible Tollbooth, Crown Prince Crazy, Coffee Cream, and Closure, Fairy Tale, 39-40.

George and playwright Jack Ventimilia observe rehearsals for Sea of Fog

Tell us briefly about another theatre project (or projects) you’re working on outside of Plays by Young Writers.

Aside from working with Playwrights Project I am currently the Chair of the Dramatic Arts Program at San Diego Mesa College.  I’m working with the students on a devised theatre project exploring race, stereotypes, nationalism, and boarder issues.


How does your work in the festival differ from your other work?

There are more similarities actually, but I’d say that having the chance to work with professional designers mentor inspired driven young playwrights is perhaps the most unique aspect of working on the festival.

George advises Sea of Fog actors

How do you define your roles in the Plays by Young Writers production process?

First and foremost as a mentor to the playwright. Initially, I work as a dramaturg listening to the playwright and helping them articulate clearly what it is they want to say with their play.  Once we move into production mode, I become a director.  This involves generating a vision for the play and collaborating with designers and actors all the while maintaining a space for the playwright’s voice as well.


What is your favorite part about being involved with Plays by Young Writers?

I love getting the chance to work with new and talented playwrights.  This inspires me.


george ye
George speaks to past PBYW winning playwrights to prepare and inspire them for their revision process

What do you hope the young playwrights will learn from this experience?

I hope they all enjoy the experience and are left with a positive impression about the playwrighting process.  There’s no doubt having your own play produced can be exhilarating as well as stressful.  It is my hopes that those young artists who have been selected for the Plays by Young Writers Festival continue to find inspiration through playwrighting and theatre making.


Can you share with us any details about your vision for the plays?

Sea of Fog challenges us to  think about the place of faith in our lives and how it can be a bridge or barrier to friendship.  Mother’s Mother examines the power of love between mothers and daughters and how change in relationships is inevitable.


You’ve been a director in Plays by Young Writers for many productions. In what ways does the Festival differ from year to year? How has the Festival grown?

Each year the festival continues to be produced with professionalism.  This is largely due to Executive Director Cecelia Kouma, Festival Artistic Director Ruff Yeager, the designers, and the entire Playwrights Project staff.

The creative team consults with playwright Naomi Melville during PBYW auditions

In Sea of Fog two outsiders struggle to understand religion in a modern world. What is your approach on addressing such a personal topic?

Character. After some conversations with Jack Ventimilia I have learned that a detailed outline of each character’s background is important to play. I also feel very lucky to be working with some brave actors who dived into the rehearsal process with a delicate sensitivity to the material.

Program B of Plays by Young Writers runs Friday Jan. 25th at 7:30 PM and Saturday Jan. 26th at 2:00 PM.

For more information and to reserve tickets online, visit

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