Poetry Out Loud contestants answer questions.

2016 New Jersey Poetry Out Loud Championships!

After months of training and competition, the Poetry Out Loud 2016 Champion from the state of New Jersey is Celeste Sena from Dr. Ronald E McNair Academic High School in Jersey City! Congratulations to Celeste and to each one of the over 25,000 Poetry Out Loud student participants throughout the state. They worked with teachers and mentors all year, perfecting their recitation skills as they prepared to compete in one of five regional semifinals throughout the state. Winners of the semifinals went on to the state championships, held at The College of New Jersey on March 17th.

Click above to see one of Celeste’s recitations from the 2016 POL State Championship and click here for more information on Poetry Out Loud in New Jersey!


A writing desk.

Poor Writing Skills Are Costing Businesses Billions

We ran across an interesting article this week in Inc. Magazine that begins with: “Communication is an essential skill for any business, but what’s shocking is how much time and money businesses are spending each year to bring employees up to a basic proficiency level. Writing seems to be one of the skills requiring the most remedial training.” Businesses are spending over 3 billion dollars a year teaching their employees how to write and communicate.

I think we’ve all seen bad writing out in the world – confusing phrasing, incorrect word usage, sentence fragments, and more. If you can’t communicate, clearly and powerfully, in the modern workplace, you will be skipped over for promotions, kept out of meetings and high-profile positions, and ridiculed by your peers. This is why it’s so important that children learn to love writing; what you love, you will practice and work to excel at.

You can read the full article on the magazine’s website by clicking here.


NJYPF logo

Our Young Playwrights Go On To Win Further Honors

We’ve always encouraged the students we work with to continue to write even after they’ve won our New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival or have graduated high school; we believe in the power of words and in the importance of practicing the crafts of writing and communication, so it’s been wonderful to see so many of our NJYPF winners go on to win national awards. Emma Baxter, Rebecca Lewis, Philip Anastassiou, and Alexa Derman are all recent winners and runners-up from our Young Playwrights Festival that have all gone on to win other major awards and honors, including recognition from the Kennedy Center, Off-Broadway readings, and playwriting residencies.

To find out more about these wonderful young writers and where their work has taken them, please click here for the Broadway World article about their successes! And remember, the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival is an annual event, so we encourage young people from all over the state to partcipate in next year’s festival! To find out more about the program, click here.


Chisa Hutchinson shares a laugh with the cast during a rehearsal of New World Disorder.

Join Us For The World Premiere of NEW WORLD DISORDER

Drew Senior Lauren Kardos reads the script at a rehearsal of New World Disorder

The Drew Capstone Project came about as a way to give seniors in the Drew University Drama Department a taste of what life is like for theatre professionals that develop and produce new plays. To that end, Drew reached out to John Pietrowski, our Artistic Director, to help put together a program that would help give the students the kind of experience they’d find post-graduation. The Capstone kicked off with the commissioning of a brand new play by Lanford Wilson Award-winning playwright, Chisa Hutchinson.

Chisa worked with the students from the inception of the project, to build a world they’d imagined within a play that dealt with themes that were important to them. The students then took the script Chisa had penned and began rehearsals under director Rodney Gilbert, an adjunct professor at Drew. The play will receive its world premiere tomorrow, April 5th, at 7:30 PM at the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts at Drew University.

NEW WORLD DISORDER will be presented on Tuesday, April 5 through Friday, April 8 at 7:30 PM and on Saturday, April 9 at 2 PM.

Please email the box office at keanboxoffice@drew.edu to make a reservation. All reservations will be reviewed by the box office before being made official. The ticket reservation department will send you a reservation status email. You may also make a phone reservation by calling the box office at: 973-408-3030.

Reservations made after 5PM on the day of your selected show are not guaranteed to be processed by show time.

Click here to find out more about the Drew Capstone project, see photos taken during the process, and to read blog articles by the students about the experience.


Our Creative Acts Academy Summer Camp Returns!

The Creative Acts Academy LogoAs the weather heats up, kids start getting more restless and parents start trying to find great ways for them to spend the Summer. We would love to have them join us in our Creative Acts Academy Summer Camp, where they can learn about more than just how to act, sing, or write. Our focus is on the process, not the final product, and we encourage our students to really learn to collaborate with each other, to express themselves creatively, to communicate and grow as people. (And also to act, sing, and write.)

This year, we’re changing things around a bit. In response to scheduling feedback we’ve received from parents, we’re going to hold a two-week session at the beginning of the Summer (June 27 – July 8) and one other two-week session at the end of the Summer (August 22 – Sept 2). The six weeks in between will consist of one-week sessions so that families that are thinking of vacationing can do so without having to cut their camp time short; this also allows for students to pick and choose the classes they want without feeling like they have to commit to longer sessions.

We’ll be offering classes from Pre-K through 12th grade in things like Improvisation, Performance, Musical Performance, Playwriting, and more.

For a full list and a schedule of classes, click here!


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