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Friday, May 19, 2017

Elementary and Junior High New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival Winners Announced

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Writers Theatre of New Jersey has just announced the winners of the Elementary and Junior High divisions in the thirty-fourth annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival! Young writers from all over the state are represented.

The winners of the Elementary School division are:

“Girl World, Boy World” by Isabella Cerciello, St. Vincent Martyr School, Madison, 4th grade

“Robot House” by Luke Sherman, Torey J. Sabatini School, Madison, 4th grade

“Techno Takeover” by Darren Van Pelt, Manasquan Elementary School, 6th grade

The winners of the Junior High School division are:

“Chow Chow” by Marra Finkelstein, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, Wyckoff, 8th grade

“Dog Sitters” by Lena Schmitt, Frelinghuysen Middle School, Morristown, 8th grade

"My Extraordinary World by Charlie McLace” by Maya Levenstein, Green Meadow Middle School, Hackettstown, 8th grade

Over 450 plays were submitted for this year’s New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival as students all over the state worked to complete plays before the Festival deadline.  Finalists also had their plays critiqued by professional playwrights from all over the United States, allowing them the valuable chance to learn from these professionals and to revise their work, making it stronger before resubmitting it for final consideration. The Elementary and Junior High School New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival winners will have their plays staged in a reading with professional actors and directors on Tuesday, June 27th at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey.  The winners of the High School division will have their plays presented on Monday June 26th, at the Mayo Center as well. Both evenings will feature talkbacks with the authors after the readings.

“This is an impressive and well-written crop of plays,” said Writers Theatre Artistic Director, John Pietrowski. “The writers cover a lot of thematic ground, and do it with a great deal of skill. If anyone wants to marvel at what youngsters are thinking about, and have some fun, they should come see these plays. And the Starlight Room at the Mayo Center is the perfect place for the Festival. Everyone is very close to the action.”

Writers Theatre has also opened submissions for the 2018 NJ Young Playwrights Contest (grades 4-12), as well as the NJ Youth Poet Laureate (grades 9-12), and Jersey Shorts Prose Competition (grades 9-12). Students may submit on the WTNJ website at, where information on the Creative Acts Academy Summer Camp and the Madison Summer Recreation Musicals can also be found.

For more information on the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival or any of Writers Theatre’s programs, please visit, or contact Writers Theatre at P.O. Box 1295, Madison, NJ, 07940, 973-514-1787 x20 or

About Writers Theatre of New Jersey:

Writers Theatre is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, professional (Actors’ Equity) theatre and a community of professional playwrights, theatre artists, and arts educators that provides opportunities for writers to develop their works in a nurturing environment and connect with new audiences. Our New Play Development Program is a multi-step process through which playwrights, theatre artists, and audiences collaborate to bring selected texts from rough draft to finished production.

Our Education Programs introduce students of all ages and backgrounds to the possibilities inherent in thinking and communicating creatively. Writers Theatre’s New Jersey Writers Project provides hands-on workshops led by professional writers-in-residence to students in schools and community centers throughout the state. We place an equal emphasis on Development and Educational activities, and encourage our community and audiences to participate fully in both.
We are honored that, every year since 2003, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJSCA) has designated Writers Theatre as a Major Arts Institution. This means that the Council considers Writers Theatre to be “an anchor institution that contributes vitally to the quality of life in New Jersey.”

Funding for our activities comes from: the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, Inc., Dramatist Guild Fund, Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, The Shubert Foundation, The Victoria Foundation, and many corporations, foundations and individuals.

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