Tuesday, April 18, 2023

American Theater Group Presents "New Works/New Voices: Playwriting Events


American Theater Group (ATG), Central NJ’s professional theater company, is pleased to present its 

New Works/New Voices Playwriting Performances 

WHEN: Friday, April 21st, at 7pm West Orange High School and Monday, May 8th, at 7pm at Columbia High School
WHERE: West Orange High School is located at 51 Conforti Ave in West Orange, NJ and Columbia High School is located at 17 Parker Avenue in Maplewood, NJ. 
The presentations are free and open to the public; tickets are not required.  (Above: Participants from Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy New Works/New Voices program)

These free events are part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festival, the state’s largest annual theater festival, which provides free and discounted theater events for all ages from March through May. 

New Works/New Voices is ATG’s playwright mentorship program. Students work under the supervision of a professional playwright, writing short plays that professional actors then perform. On average, 8-15 student playwrights participate each year. This year, the program was expanded to two high schools, with approximately two dozen students participating.

For the seventh consecutive year, the group is being mentored by Resident Artist Jim Ligon, an actor, director, writer and educator, who has appeared on TV, film and regional theaters across the US. He serves as adjunct professor of theater at Montclair State University and has been a teaching artist in New Jersey and New York schools for over 25 years.

“The American Theater Group is pleased to once again participate in the Stages Festival, and we are particularly happy that we were able to expand the program to two schools this year,” said Jim Vagias, Producing Artistic Director of ATG. “These performances are a wonderful way of having the students’ new works come to life with professional actors and a live audience and dovetails with ATG's mission to inspire and educate artists and audiences of tomorrow.”

The Stages Festival offers over 70 in-person and online performances, workshops, classes, and events at theaters, libraries, and other community venues throughout the state. The program was developed to encourage New Jersey’s residents to attend their local professional theaters by making the experience affordable, accessible, and fun.

To see a full schedule of events, please visit

The 2023 Stages Festival is made possible by support from New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey; OceanFirst Foundation; Fund for the New Jersey Blind; New Jersey Manufacturers and Customers Bank.

American Theater Group (ATG), founded in 2012, produces new and classic works primarily by American playwrights with an emphasis on the development of new works and the rediscovery of undeservedly neglected older ones. It also provides quality arts-in-education initiatives, including its annual DramaFest for students and its PlayLab program for BIPOC and queer playwrights. ATG is in residence at the Sieminski Theater in Basking Ridge, NJ, and its programming is made possible in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Made possible by the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. More information can be found at