Interview with George Yé, Projections & Sound Designer of Plays by Young Writers

Playwrights Project will produce its 35th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Joan B. Kroc Theatre on January 29 – February 1, 2020. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 561 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and one script will receive a staged reading in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

George Yé  is Chair of Drama at San Diego Mesa College, a director, 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 speaks to past PBYW winning playwrights to prepare and inspire them for their revision process

Do you work in theatre outside of this festival and if so, how does your work in Plays by Young Writers differ from your other work?
For many years I designed sound for theatre and composed incidental music for short films, and more recently I’ve been directing. So, it’s a joy to settle into the sound design role for this year’s Festival. We’ll see how rusty I am. Working with Playwrights Project in this capacity should be no different than working with any other professional theatre company. The only exception would be that we are producing 3 shows this season, and I’ll be working hard to make sure there’s distinct support for each show. 

Describe a couple ideas that come to mind when you’re conceptualizing the sound design for this year’s plays.
One concern that comes to mind is creating ambiance. One of the sound designer’s jobs is to help reveal setting and location. Proper music selections, compositions, and sound effects will be important to help set the tone and establish environments for the shows. Another item that comes to mind is the need for live sound support; that is, microphones for performers. Where productions require the use of live amplification assistance, the sound designer needs to think in technical terms as well as conceptually to support a production.  

What caught your attention most when you first read the scripts?
The theme of family and honesty stand out in my mind. These topics are important to me; easy to define, yet not always easy to maintain. So, plays reminding us about the values of those themes inspire me. 

Please feel free to include any other information or insights you wish!
It’s going to be a great Festival this year and Cecelia, Ruff, and everyone at Playwrights Project has done an incredible job visualizing this year’s season!

The Plays by Young Writers Festival’s public performance will take place February 1, 2020 at 7:30pm.

For more information, please contact Playwrights Project at (858) 384-2970 or at
Tickets can be purchased on Playwrights Project’s website.