Founded in 1986 as Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Writers Theatre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, professional theatre and arts education organization dedicated to developing new works, writers, and a creative community.
Our New Play Development Program is a multi-stage process, of readings, workshops, and productions, including special programs like the New Jersey Women Playwrights Program, New Plays New Jersey, The Soundings Reading Series, and The Youth-Driven Theatre Series. We also develop new work through our poetry and prose programs like our New Jersey Literary Artist Fellowship Showcase and Jersey Shorts.
Education Programs operate across the state and include The New Jersey Writers Project, The NJ Young Playwrights Contest, NJ Poetry Out Loud, The NJ Youth Poet Laureate Program. The Brick City Initiative (Newark), and the Rose City Initiative (Madison). Our Creative Acts Academy teaches writing and theatre skills to children and adults in the Madison area via year-round classes and our Creative Acts Academy Summer camp.
We see our audiences as partners in the development process and involve them in all aspects of our development work.
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts has designated Writers Theatre of New Jersey a “Major Arts Institution” every year since 2003, and named it “an anchor institution that contributes vitally to the quality of life in New Jersey.” This marks our 15th consecutive year winning one of the state’s highest honors for an arts organization!
In 2016 alone, we employed over 300 artists here in New Jersey, in our professional theatre work including mainstage productions, staged readings, school tours, and more. We also helped to develop 33 new plays by professional writers and over 300 plays by students in our adult and youth classes. Much of the work developed at WTNJ goes on to be produced at other theatres throughout the state and the country and to win national awards for the brilliant playwrights we have the pleasure of working with. Our educational programs helped us work with over 40,000 children in New Jersey, including reaching nearly a quarter of all public schools in the state.
Despite our programming reaching such wide audiences, our focus remains on the individual process, making sure that each author we work with, whether professional or student, has access to the tools, instruction, or support they need to be able to do their work. We gather talented, professional actors and directors to rehearse and perform the in-development pieces so that playwrights have a chance to hear their words aloud and make any changes they deem necessary. We cultivate intelligent audiences that understand the goals and processes of storytelling and can offer important critical feedback to the authors as they hone their work and we work to bring the creative community together by connecting authors to each other so that they may teach and learn from each other.
We’d love for you to join us in our classes or development programs where you’ll work with professional instructors who’ll pass along the skills they’ve honed over the years and their love of the arts or, as an audience member, where you can become a part of the art yourself and help professionals perfect their work. Send us a message, come to a show, or take a class and join the WTNJ Creative Community!