Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Premiere Stages at Kean University Seeks Submissions to Annual Play Festival 

Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, is accepting submissions for the 17th annual Premiere Play Festival beginning Wednesday, September 1. This yearly competition for unproduced scripts offers developmental and production opportunities to up to five playwrights with strong ties to the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware).

Premiere will accept submissions September 1 through November 15, 2021, and select four to five finalists by early March 2022; any submissions received before or after this submission window will not be considered. In an effort to streamline the process and make it more user-friendly, Premiere will accept all submissions electronically through Submittable  (this link is also available through Premiere’s website).

All finalists will receive developmental readings, scheduled for March 10-13, 2022, with a winner and runner-up to be announced in April 2022. The festival winner will be awarded a $2,500 advance and receive a full Equity production in July 2023; the runner-up will receive $1,000 and an Equity 29-hour staged reading. The remaining finalists will each receive an honorarium of $750. In 2019, Premiere Stages received 973 submissions to the 2020 Festival. While readings of the finalists of the 2020 Play Festival were postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic, two of the finalists were selected for full productions in 2021 or 2022.

Through the uniquely accelerated Play Festival process, Premiere Stages provides an encouraging and highly focused environment in which playwrights can develop their work. Premiere Stages also actively advocates for Festival writers by reaching out to other theatres to secure subsequent productions, and partners with other organizations and theatres to extend the profile and life of the works developed.

“We are so pleased to invite playwrights to submit to the 2022 Festival. Despite the pandemic, our resolve to develop and champion the scripts of gifted regional playwrights has never wavered.” Stated John J. Wooten, Producing Artistic Director. “We can’t wait to share their stories with an audience hungry for topical and compelling new work”.

In the sixteen seasons since its founding, the Premiere Play Festival has received over 6,000 submissions and developed more than eighty plays. Multiple plays produced at Premiere have been honored by the American Theatre Critics Association, selected for agency representation, and/or been published by Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing Company, Playscripts, and Broadway Play Publishing. A number of Play Festival winners and finalists have subsequently been produced in New York, internationally and at regional theatres across the country.

All 2022 Premiere Play Festival entries will be evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals in consultation with Premiere artistic staff. Agents and theatre professionals with an affiliation to Premiere Stages may submit full scripts; playwrights may submit a synopsis and script sample directly. The submission window is September 1, 2021 through November 15, 2021, and there is no fee to enter the competition. Complete submission guidelines are available at

Premiere Stages is committed to supporting a diverse group of writers; playwrights of all backgrounds, ages, and experience levels are encouraged to submit. All entrants are encouraged to review Premiere Stages’ production history, which is also posted on the website.

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. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. 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 Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, Carol Shaffer-Koros and Robert Koros, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant 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