Saturday, January 6, 2024

22nd Annual Young Playwrights Competition accepts entries now through Jan. 22, 2024


Deadline Approaches: 

The Theater Project’s 22nd Annual Young Playwrights Competition

PODCASTS/VIDEOS with last year’s winners available 

WHEN: Submission deadline Jan 22, 2024
INFO:, 908 809-8865

The Theater Project, an award-winning professional company and incubator for rising talent, is once again reaching out to creative young people in New Jersey high schools with its 22nd annual Young Playwrights Competition.

Winners receive cash prizes and see their work performed by professional actors at the Zoom awards ceremony in the spring. The submission deadline to enter the 2024 competition is January 22. 

Interested students and teachers can access entry details, videos, and podcasts with last year’s winners on the website,

“Every year one of our winners tells us, I would never have tried to do this if I hadn't heard about the competition,” says artistic director Mark Spina. “We hope to inspire more young people to write short plays, developing the verbal abilities, critical thinking skills and creativity that they need to succeed in any field.”

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’s event to present prizes and share their journeys with the newest honorees. The judges, members of The Theater Project’s Adult Playwrights Workshop, also offer half-hour tutorials to any interested contest entrant.

The honorees at last year’s event represented nine different high schools and eight different New Jersey towns:

  • FIRST PRIZE: Elise Harvey, Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School, Bridgewater
  • SECOND PRIZE: Delia Mullen, Communications High School, Wall Township
  • THIRD PRIZE (a tie): Nicole M. Beltre, Teaneck High School and Henry Frieman, Communications High School, Wall Township
    Kristen Gallagher, Communications High School, Wall Township
    MJ King, Morristown High School
    Leila Kramer & Trevor Preece (joint entry), Cherry Hill High School East
    Mia Longenecker, Madison High School
    Lucas Luchsinger, Union County Vocational Technical School, Scotch Plains
    Charlie Patton, High Technology High School, Lincroft
    Jonathan Tejada, Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy, Elizabeth

“We want to make sure that kids know their creative efforts are valued by showcasing them for the community – making it an online event allows them to share their work with friends anywhere around the country and beyond,” says program coordinator Kevin Carver. “Arts education sometimes gets short-changed as schools struggle to meet so many demands. But when kids lose out on arts experiences, they miss opportunities to develop critical thinking skills that are needed now more than ever.”

The winning playwrights receive cash prizes; the honorable mentions are awarded gift certificates. The Theater Project works with its “alumni” winners to find other venues for their work, by sponsoring them in other competitions such as the Samuel French Festival in New York City.

Now in its 30th year, The Theater Project presents programs and productions in Cranford, Maplewood, Union, and West Orange.


Honorees of last year’s Young Playwrights Competition