Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Submissions Now Open for the Premiere Stages 2021/2022 Liberty Live Commission


Premiere Stages 2021/2022 Liberty Live Commission

Premiere Stages, the professional theatre in residence at Kean University, will start accepting submissions on Monday, June 15, 2020, for the 2021/2022 Liberty Live Commission, a biennial commissioning program for New Jersey playwrights in partnership with Kean’s Liberty Hall Museum. Now in its sixth incarnation, Liberty Live culminates with a professional Equity production of a new play that celebrates New Jersey history. Past winners include Talking to Westfield by E.M. Lewis (2012), At Liberty Hall by James Christy (2013/2014), My Lord, What a Night by Deborah Brevoort (2015/2016) and Black Tom Island by Martin Casella (2017/2018), and Robey by Joe Sutton (2019/2020). The fully staged production of Robey has been postponed to September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Playwrights are invited to submit proposals for new plays about New Jersey history to Premiere Stages. Playwrights must be current residents of the state of New Jersey. The panel will consider any relevant topics and has also indicated that stories pertaining to the struggle for civil rights in New Jersey will be given strong consideration. Additional topics of interest include the 1967 Newark riots; Thomas Mundy Peterson of Perth Amboy, the first African American to cast a vote under the protection of the 15th Amendment; the construction of the Atlantic City Boardwalk; the Negro Leagues' presence in New Jersey when baseball was segregated; America’s first “Crime of the Century”—the kidnapping of the Lindbergh Baby; and the Hindenburg Tragedy.

Proposals are due by September 1, 2020. A shortlist of the submitted proposals will be selected as finalists and playwrights will be interviewed. The winning proposal will be selected by November 30, 2020, and that playwright will be commissioned to write a play based on the submitted proposal. Upon completion of the first draft, the playwright will receive a $2,000 award. The winning play will be developed from November 2020 through October 2021 and will include three staged readings in October 2021 at Premiere Stages. From November 2021 through October 2022, Premiere Stages will work with the playwright to continue to develop the play. Premiere Stages will also forge collaborations and partnerships with organizations and groups statewide. A full Equity production will be performed at Liberty Hall Museum in October 2022.

Premiere Stages is dedicated to supporting a diverse group of writers; playwrights of all backgrounds, ages, and experience levels are encouraged to apply. There are no restrictions on casting; characters may be of any age, gender, or race. Premiere Stages serves a wide audience and is dedicated to celebrating the wide diversity that enriches New Jersey.

Submission guidelines are now available, and there is no fee to enter. 

Please visit or email for full guidelines. All entries are evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals and historians in consultation with Premiere’s Producing Artistic Director, John J. Wooten, and Liberty Hall Museum’s Executive Director, Rachel Goldberg.

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Sign-interpreted, audio-described and open-captioned performances are available upon request; please call 908-737-4077 at least two weeks prior to your desired performance. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant, Actors’ Equity Foundation, and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.

Premiere Stages is committed to producing topical plays and interactive programs that reflect people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, religious groups, gender identities, ages, abilities, disabilities and sexual preferences. 

Created in 2004, Premiere Stages is the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University. Through its unique partnership with Kean, Premiere’s play development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities actively embrace the university's academic curriculum while expanding the scope, accessibility, and prestige of the professional programming on campus. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University’s six undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers six doctoral degree programs and more than 80 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit