Happy New Year from Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey!
We hope you had safe and happy holidays and that this new year brings you all the best. The end of the year is an important time of reflection on the previous twelve months. As we look back on what we accomplished in 2015, we want to thank each and every one of you – our artists, patrons, and parents of our students – for collaborating with us and helping us to continue our work in developing creative community.
“The first principle of science, the definition, almost, is the following: The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific “truth.” But what is the source of knowledge? Where do the laws that are to be tested come from? Experiment, itself, helps to produce these laws, in the sense that it gives us hints. But also needed is imagination to create from these hints the great generalizations—to guess at the wonderful, simple, but very strange patterns beneath them all, and then to experiment to check again whether we have made the right guess.” – Richard Feynman
Imagination is the spark that lights all thought and it is what we use to create the self-narratives that inform the way we live our lives. Imagination, along with the other tools and processes of creation, are what we continue to teach, hone, and explore in our work, with your help.
2015 gave us the opportunity to share that process with many people, as you can see in these highlights below:
Through our various educational programs, we were able to work with more than 40,000 students in almost 25% of New Jersey public schools. We collaborated with theatre professionals to bring to life over 300 plays in 2015; many of those plays will go on to be produced elsewhere and published and many of the playwrights we worked with won or are nominated for prestigious national awards for these plays. In our development and educational work this year, we employed more than 300 artists. That number includes actors, directors, playwrights, stage managers, designers, poets, teaching artists, and more. We’re grateful to have been able to continue to provide so many artists and students a safe place to practice their craft and learn the many lessons and values that can only come through patiently honing a skill.
And now, looking forward to 2016, we have another piece of news – we’ve changed our name to Writers Theatre of New Jersey, effective January 1st, 2016!
In the 30 years since its founding, Playwrights Theatre grew in scope to programs beyond new play development – our administering the national Poetry Out Loud program in the state of New Jersey and our triennial Literary Artist Fellowship are two examples of this. Our educational residencies have grown to include poetry, drama, and other subjects and many of the playwrights and artists we work with are also screenwriters, novelists, and more. Because of this, it felt fitting to adopt a name that encompassed all of the work we do, while still speaking to our original and primary purpose. So while we are now Writers Theatre of New Jersey, our commitment to new play development and to the craft of writing will never change.
Along with the name change, we’re also happy to announce that we are getting a new website, one that’s much easier to navigate and far more useful a tool for the theatre. The site will allow us far easier integration with social media, give us the ability to host discussions about plays our patrons have seen, have tools for our students and teaching artists to use at home and in the classroom, and so much more. Our new website will launch in early January and can be found at https://www.wtnj.org though our old web address will continue to redirect automatically to the new site for a while so people can still easily find us. You’ll also notice that all of our social media channels have changed to reflect the new Writers Theatre name and branding. Links to all of those channels, from our Twitter and Facebook accounts to our new YouTube channel can be found below, so that you can follow us more closely.
The changes we’re making run far deeper than just a new paint job and name; there are some new programs in the works like a new partnership with Speranza Theatre Company in Jersey City that will see the plays developed through our New Jersey Women Playwrights Project presented there after they’ve gone through the program with us. We’ve got a new educational and development program in the Drew Capstone Project with Drew University that allows their fourth-year theatre students to collaborate with a professional playwright (Chisa Hutchinson this year) on creating a new work and then mounting a full production of it. We’re also making some changes to our Summer Camp and some other existing programs to hone their focus a bit more. You’ll hear more about the new programs and the changes over the coming months via our site, blogs, email, and social media outlets.
What isn’t changing are our commitments to the craft of writing and new play development, to education, and our gratitude towards you, our creative community. Without each one of you, none of the past thirty years would have been possible, and we want to take this opportunity to let you know just how deeply we appreciate your support, your talent, and your passion for the arts and education.
May 2016 bring each of you joy and happiness, and we look forward to continue working with and serving you in the new year!