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Monday, September 19, 2016

New Jersey Youth Poet Laureate program for High school students

New Classes Kicking off in Madison, A New Poetry Contest, and Much More!
New Jersey Youth Poet Laureate Contest!
October 24, 2016 - That’s the deadline for our brand-new New Jersey Youth Poet Laureate program! High school students from all over the state can enter by submitting five poems via our online form, found here, under the “Prepare the Submission” tab:

Four of the poems can be on any subject at all, but the fifth poem must be a “poem of place;” a poem of place is a poem that describes, whether literally or metaphorically, where the poet lives. The poems can be in any style of poetry, including rap or spoken word (though they must be submitted in written form), and can be new works created just for the contest or existing poems the poet has written. Prizes include a Governor’s Award, opportunities for the poets to read their work throughout the state, and the publication of the poems in an anthology, so reach out to the high school poets in your life and make sure they get their poems in before that deadline. Only a few weeks to go!

For more information on the program, go to the NJYPL page here: 
Brand New Classes Right in Madison!
School has started and students are hitting the books at school, but this autumn, they’ll also be working on their improvisation and auditioning skills in our new, year-round classes in Madison!

We’re offering an Improvisation class for students in grades 7-12 that will help students improve their spontaneity, create more realistic and vibrant characters onstage, and learn to better think on their feet both on and off stage. We’re also offering a Getting Ready to Audition class that will be taught by Jim Ligon, professor of Acting at Montclair State University. The class will improve students’ ability to select and present monologues and songs that best showcase the performer. These skills, and the feedback students get during the class, are incredibly useful in auditioning for college theatre programs, professional theatres, high school shows, and community theatre productions.

Improv classes will be held on Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, with the first class beginning on October 15, 2016. A more detailed schedule and intructions on registering can be found on our Creative Acts Academy page, so be sure to check that out here for more information:

The Getting Ready to Audition class will be scheduled individually with Jim Ligon. To register for the class, please go to our Creative Acts Academy page and click on the “Getting Ready to Audition Tab.” There’s an online form there that you can fill out to begin the process: 
The Literary Artist Fellowship Showcase Returns!
Every three years, Writers Theatre partners with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to bring the work of recipients of NJ State Council on the Arts Fellowships in Prose, Poetry, and Writing to the stage in concert readings of the Fellows’ work. This year, we’ll kick off the readings at Warren County College on the night of Thursday, September 29 with readings by poets Nicole Cooley and Christopher Salerno. The readings will be held in room 123A from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM and are free and open to the public.

The next event in the Literary Artist Fellowship series will be held at William Paterson University on Tuesday, October 11 from 6:00 PM to 7:15 PM, so mark that on your calendars!

For more information on when you can catch these incredible authors, poets, and playwrights, please check out our Literary Artist Fellowship page: We’ll be updating that page with information on each event throughout the season! 
Madison Young Playwrights Begin Their Work Anew!
The beginning of the school year also means the start of our Madison Young Playwrights Program. The program places professional teaching artists in all three of Madison’s public elementary schools in addition to Saint Vincent Martyr School and the Madison Junior School. These teaching artists work with the students on playwriting – first teaching and discussing the elements of creative writing, then building scenes, and finally helping to guide the students through a revision and editing process that strengthens the final script. At the end of the program, the students’ plays are entered into the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival and several plays from each school are performed at the playwrights’ own school so their family, friends, teachers, and peers can enjoy the work they’ve created. The students love getting to share their work with everyone and to see the professional actors that perform the plays bring their words to life.

Last year, two Madison students, Vanya Dhamija and Artha Abeysinghe, won the New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest out of hundreds of entrants throughout the state, a testament to the quality of the writing coming out of this program. As Artha’s mother said, “Thank you, [Writers Theatre], for continuing this successful program in our schools. It is your hard work, nurturing environment, the school assemblies, and the great teachers that motivate our son to keep writing more plays.”

The Madison Young Playwrights Program has been running for thirty-one years and has helped to strengthen the writing skills of thousands of students. Madison parents interested in the program can register their children for it via an online form on our website at: For parents in other towns that are interested in the educational opportunities that these in-school residencies can give their children, Writers Theatre offers similar residencies through its New Jersey Writers Project. More information on that program, including how to bring those residencies to your child’s school, can be found here:

We hope you’re enjoying the slow transition from summer into autumn and we hope to see you soon, whether it’s taking one of our classes or at a WTNJ event! 

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