Young Storytellers

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Young Storytellers, formerly the Young Storytellers Foundation, is an arts education non-profit operating primarily in Los Angeles.

Young Storytellers currently serves elementary, middle, and high school students in Southern California,[1] including the cities of Los Angeles, Culver City, Santa Monica, and Burbank. Young Storytellers targets Title 1 schools;[2] these are schools and school districts with the highest concentrations of poverty in which academic performance tends to be low and the obstacles to raising performance are the greatest. The program improves writing, literacy, and self-confidence.[3]


Young Storytellers began as an in-school mentoring program in 1997 - by three screenwriters Mikkel Bondesen, Brad Falchuk, and Andrew Barrett upon learning about cutbacks in funding for creative arts programs in the Los Angeles public schools.[4][5] The first school adopted into the program was an elementary school in Culver City.[6] The program was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 2003.[4]


The organization benefits elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.[6] In 2016, 20th Century Fox invited Young Storytellers students to participate in the Fox Writers Intensive.[7]

Script to Stage[edit]

The Script to Stage program is its main program whereby students in fifth grade write short plays in the course of ten weeks later to be performed by actors on stage.[6] Students in the programs are selected on multiple criteria by teachers and can include students who are not proficient in the English language, have difficulty with reading and writing, or have social assimilation issues.[6] The Script to Stage program produces 900 scripts per year.[8]


The program is run in each school by a volunteer Head Mentor and volunteer Mentors. Each mentor works one-on-one with a student for the duration of the nine-week program to create a screenplay and the resulting screenplay is then performed by a volunteer performer.[9] There are currently over 2,500 volunteers in Los Angeles serving 1,200 students in 60 schools.[6]


The organization received grants from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association multiple times. In 2013 the organization was represented by Olivia Wilde[10] and received a portion of the $1.6 million in grants given by the HFPA that year.[11] 2016 in the amount of $10,000.[12]

In 2015, the organization received a grant from the $4.5 million given to the Los Angeles arts scene from Michael Bloomberg Philanthropies.[13] Jane Fonda's, Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, has also provided funding.[14]

Notable performers[edit]

Young Storytellers' annual fundraiser, "The Biggest Show," invites actors and comedians from film and television to perform their student's screenplays. In 2014, student screenplays were performed by Rob Corddry, Max Greenfield, John Cho, Alison Brie, Jillian Bell and Stephanie Beatriz. Corddry stated, "[the program] is kind of mythical in this world that I run in. You can't have a bad time. There's no pressure. You can't fail. It's pretty much everything you want as an actor. It's pretty much everything I've been looking for my whole life".[15] In 2016, when asked about "The Biggest Show," Seth Rogen said: "One of the main things that made me want to do it was to encourage these kids to continue to do this stuff. I was not the type of person that would persevere through discouragement at that age."[16]

2015 Biggest Show[17]

2016 Biggest Show[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Littleton, Cynthia. "Young Storytellers Foundation Helps Kids Bring Out Their Inner Writer". Variety. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  2. ^ Whelan, Corey. "Storytelling Skills Boosted For Public School Students Through Special Program". CBS Los Angeles. CBS. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  3. ^ "EYE ON L.A. FOR JUNE 20, 2009 Originally aired Sat., June 20, at 6:30 p.m." Eyewitness News ABC 7. ABC Inc. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b Flynn, Kathleen. "Pros Have Supporting Roles in Scriptwriting Sessions". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company.
  5. ^ Evaristo, Jasmine. "TV STARS SUPPORT YOUNG STORYTELLERS ARTS INITIATIVE". Young Hollywood. Young Hollywood LLC. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Greiving, Tim. "Seth Rogen, Tony Hale and Jordan Peele will perform short plays written by fifth-graders". Los Angeles Times. Tribune. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  7. ^ Variety Staff. "Fox Sets Participants in 2016 Writers Intensive Program, Partners with Young Storytellers". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  8. ^ Martin, Brittany. "Seth Rogen, Tony Hale and other stars are performing a series of plays by fifth graders". Time Out. Time Out America LLC. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  9. ^ Rodriguez, Briana. "Volunteer Org Seeks Actors to Help Kids". Backstage. Backstage. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  10. ^ HFPA. "GRANTS 2013: OLIVIA WILDE FOR YOUNG STORYTELLERS". Golden Globe Awards. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  11. ^ Pond, Steve. "Hollywood Foreign Press Promises To Get Serious About Journalism, Gives $1.6 million in Grants". The Wrap. The Wrap News Inc.
  12. ^ Celada, Luca. "HFPA Announces 2016 Philanthropy at Annual Banquet". Golden Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  13. ^ Boehm, Mike. "L.A. arts groups get $4.5 million from Michael Bloomberg's foundation". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  14. ^ Adeniji, Ade. "Jane Fonda's Philanthropy: A Hollywood Legend Keys in on Reproductive Health". Inside Philanthropy. Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  15. ^ THR Staff. "ROB CORDDRY, MAX GREENFIELD AMONG ACTORS PERFORMING SKITS BY GRADE SCHOOL SCREENWRITERS". Pret-A-Reporter. The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Seth Rogen, Tony Hale and Jordan Peele will perform short plays written by fifth-graders". Los Angeles Times. 2016-10-18. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
  17. ^ Littleton, Cynthia. "Keegan-Michael Key, Max Greenfield Set for Young Storytellers' Biggest Show Fundraiser". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 14 September 2016.

External links[edit]