Monday, January 7, 2019

The Theater Project’s 16th annual Young Playwrights Competition Deadline Approaches


Young Playwrights Competition
WHEN: Submission deadline January 21, 2019
WHO:  NJ high school students
Complete competition guidelines available at

The Theater Project is once again reaching out to creative young people in its 17th annual Young Playwrights Competition. Winners receive cash prizes and see their work performed by professional actors at the awards ceremony in March of 2019.

The submission deadline is January 21, 2019. 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.

“We look forward to inspiring and being inspired,” said artistic director Mark Spina. “Every year, we are energized by the incredible talent and creativity in the entries, and every year we hope to inspire more young people to write and be creative by providing a showcase for their work.”

In last year’s contest, eleven young people were honored in the March 2018 awards ceremony:

First Prize: Madison Kartoz, West Windsor Plainsboro High School South

Second Prize: Jacqueline Acunto, Bergen County Academies

Third Prize (Tie): Kianni Keys, Newark Academy
                         Annabelle Roses, Columbia High School

Honorable Mentions:

Amira Cooper                          Union County Academy for Performing Arts

Estefany Garcia                       Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy

Julia Huston                             Bergen County Academies

Kat Newcombe                        Union County Academy for Performing Arts

Victoria Tonstad                      Union County Academy for Performing Arts

Henry Zeigerson                      Union County Academy for Performing Arts

Joyce Zheng                             Bergen County Academies

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. On the day of the ceremony, the judges and members of The Theater Project’s Adult Playwrights Workshop also offer half-hour tutorials to any interested contest entrant.

The Young Playwrights event takes place at the Cranford Community Center. The Theater Project, an award-winning professional company in residence at the Burgdorff Cultural Center in Maplewood, also presents programs in Rahway, Union and Cranford.

“We want to make sure that kids know their creative efforts are valued by showcasing them for the community,” says Mark Spina. “In tough economic times, arts education sometimes gets short changed as people struggle to make ends meet and schools see their budgets shrink. But when kids lose out on arts experiences, they miss opportunities to develop critical thinking and reading skills that are needed now more than ever.”

This year’s event is supported by a $500 grant from Investors Foundation.  The grant will help further Theater Project’s mission of encouraging the next generation of writers. “We are deeply grateful for this gift,” says Theater Project board president Kevin Carver.

About Investors Bank

Investors Bank, headquartered in Short Hills, New Jersey, is a full-service community bank that has been serving customers since 1926. With over $25 billion in assets and a network of more than 150 retail branches, Investors Bank delivers personalized services and products tailored to the needs of its customers. Investors Bank’s services include complete deposit, loan and cash management products for consumers and businesses. Investors Bank. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender.

About the Investors Foundation

Investors Bank created the Investors Foundation in 2005 to support the communities Investors Bank serves. Investors Foundation supports initiatives in the arts, youth development, health and human services, education and affordable housing.  Investors Foundation works to improve the lives of its customers and neighbors.

PHOTO (courtesy of NJ Theatre Alliance): Actors performing the winning entries in the 2018 Young Playwrights Competition.