Today’s young audiences are facing more complex challenges and greater social pressures than those in previous generations. Now, as always, is the time for theatre to offer them a window into shared meaning. But what topical material is out there for mission-based companies that are interested in live streaming their theatre productions?

Check out our picks for TYA shows that deal with complicated social issues. Every title is available for streaming rights from YouthPLAYS, so start planning your production today!


Category: Play

Genre: TYA

Cast size: 3-10F, 2-10M

Other details: 45-50 minutes. Cast size may be reduced to 2-3 players with the use of puppets. First produced by Little Fish Theatre (Philadelphia, PA).

Playwright: Greg Romero

Synopsis: A plastic water bottle, a blue crab with a giant claw, a parrot who thinks she is a seagull, and the Oldest Sea Turtle Who Ever Lived journey together to save us all from a lonely, swirling ocean landfill twice the size of Texas.

The Big Bad Bullysaurus

Category: Play

Genre: Comedy

Cast size: 2F, 3M, 2 flexible

Other details: 40-45 minutes. Suitable for middle school and older performers, and elementary school audiences. A four-actor version, originally adapted for Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre and ideal for touring, is also available.

Playwright: Tommy Jamerson

Synopsis: When Ryan Rex Jr., a little dinosaur with a lot of gumption, finds himself in the middle of a big bully problem, he ends up learning a valuable lesson about friendship and forgiveness.

Kid Turboni Brings the Rain

Category: Play

Genre: Dramedy

Cast size: 2F, 3M

Other Details: 60-70 minutes. Suitable for middle school and older performers and all audiences. Winner of the 2018 American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) Distinguished Play Award. First read by The Growing Stage—The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey as part of their New Play-Reading Series, and developed at the Write Now! conference.

Playwright: Mark J. Costello

Synopsis: Three kids from an Albuquerque housing project seek to end a crippling heat wave by following the example of Smack Turkenson, a fabled ex-tenant of the project who was able to steal rain from Mother Nature.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Category: Play

Genre: Drama

Cast Size: 4+ females, 6+ males (12-40 performers possible). 

Other Details: 105-115 minutes. Suitable for middle school and up.

Playwright: Ed Shockley

Synopsis: A young girl comes of age in Jim Crow Mississippi in this authorized adaptation of Mildred D. Taylor’s Newbery Award-winning classic.

The Ghosts of Pineville

Category: Play

Genre: Dramedy

Cast size: 4F, 6M, 2+ any gender (12+ possible)

Other details: 40-45 minutes. Based on the graphic novel by Sara Turner. Suitable for middle school and older performers, and middle and elementary school audiences.

Playwrights: Jeremy Kisling & Sara Turner

Synopsis: When ghosts threaten to overrun Pineville, the town’s survival may just depend on a trio of young friends turned paranormal investigators: Can they manage to do the right thing when it’s so much easier not to?

The Matsuyama Mirror

Category: Play

Genre: Drama

Cast size: 4F, 1M, 3 any gender

Other details: 60-70 minutes. Suitable for high school and older performers, upper elementary and older audiences. First produced at Honolulu Theatre for Youth (co-production with Kumu Kahua Theatre; Honolulu, HI), directed by Pamela Sterling.

Playwright: Velina Hasu Houston

Synopsis: When a young girl escapes into an enchanted world where her dolls come to life, will she stay there forever or discover the true magic of life?

Cuentos de Josefina (Josephine’s Tales)

Category: Play with Music

Genre: Folktale

Cast size: 6+ females, 4+ males (10-50+ performers possible)

Other details: 100-110 minutes. Suitable for middle school and older.

Playwright: Gregory Ramos

Synopsis: A heartfelt memory in the form of multiple tales as they follow the story of Young Josefina and her brother Ignacio’s journey from Mexico to the United States.

The Butterfly: Legends from the Middle Kingdom

Category: Play

Genre: TYA

Cast Size: 2-4F, 2-4M (5-6 performers possible).

Other Details: 50-55 minutes. Suitable for middle school and older performers, audiences of all ages.

Playwright: Ruth Cantrell

Synopsis: Born in prison, Chou is befriended by an enchanted butterfly whose stories take Chou around the middle kingdom; could they take Chou to freedom?

Hero Zero

Category: Play

Genre: Dramedy

Cast Size:  2F, 2M, 7 any gender

Other Details: 20-25 minutes. Created specifically for virtual performance. Suitable for upper elementary school and older performers, and elementary school audiences.

Playwright: Lojo Simon

Synopsis: A child tries to figure out how to fill big, big shoes after the loss of their war hero older brother in this play written for virtual performance.

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