Monday, January 4, 2016

Theater Project fourteenth annual Young Playwrights Competition Open to all NJ secondary school students, ages 13 to 18

Past Winners of March 2015 Young Playwrights Competition:
Jordan Goldberg, Brianna Torres, Cathryn Mesce, Rachel Sobel

The Theater Project is once again reaching out to creative young people – budding Shakespeares and Spielbergs -- in its fourteenth annual Young Playwrights Competition. Winners receive cash prizes and see their work performed by professional actors at the awards ceremony in March of 2016. The submission deadline is January 19, 2016. New Jersey’s high school playwrights submit their short plays at web site, where they will find all the necessary entry guidelines and formatting rules.

Last year, nine young people were honored in the March awards ceremony: First Prize: Cathryn Mesce, from the Union County Academy for the Performing Arts; tied for Second Prize: Rachel Sobel, Montclair Kimberley Academy and Brianna Torres, Union County Academy for the Performing Arts: Third Prize: Jordan Goldberg, Bergen County Academies. Honorable Mentions went to Stella Ferra and Jole Perkins, Union County Academy for the Performing Arts, Maddie Grubbs Hightstown High School, Natalie Lifson, The Pingry School, Jillian Rezen and Camille Tejeda, Bergen County Academies.

“The ability to write clearly and edit effectively – tools every playwright and story-teller learns – are becoming lost arts.” said artistic director Mark Spina. “Arts programs in schools are being cut, but it’s creative outlets like theater that develop critical thinking skills.” The contest invites young people to be creative by providing opportunities to showcase their work, and those opportunities don’t end with the contest. Winning entries are frequently produced in the KALEIDOSCOPE KABARET, The Theater Project’s annual festival on one-act plays by NJ authors.

On the day of the ceremony, the judges, members of The Theater Project’s Adult Playwrights Workshop, also offer half-hour tutorials – and pizza -- to any interested contest entrant. “We want our participants to see that there is a supportive community interested in their work,” says contest coordinator Kevin Carver, “and to give young writers an opportunity to meet their peers.” At the awards ceremony, the three winning entries are performed script in hand, and each author is asked to address the audience when they accept their prize.

The Theater Project is an award-winning professional company in residence at The Burgdorff Cultural Center in Maplewood, NJ. Several past winners of the Playwrights Competition have gone on to pursue degrees in theater and playwriting, and they often return to The Theater Project to present prizes and share their journeys with the newest honorees.

2015 Honorable Mentions:
Jole Perkins, Stella Ferra, Maddee Grubbs, Jillian Rezen, Camille Tejeda
 Complete competition guidelines are available at

WHAT: Young Playwrights Competition
WHEN: Submission deadline January 19, 2016
WHO: NJ High School Students
INFO:, 908 809-8865

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