Madison, NJ — For the past thirty-five years, the Writers Theatre of New Jersey has conducted the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival, a program which brings teaching artists to local schools to work with students on the art of playwriting. The Festival also includes a contest, which is open to writers across the state and repeatedly draws incredible young minds to create inspiring new work.
One such mind was that of Julie Ann Earls, a 2008 New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival Winner. Since this early success, Earls has gone on to pursue theatre professionally and, earlier this year, finished up a multi-year run on the off-Broadway hit “PUFFS, OR: SEVEN INCREASINGLY EVENTFUL YEARS AT A CERTAIN SCHOOL OF MAGIC AND MAGIC.” She still fondly recalls her experience with the Festival and stands by what she wrote shortly after winning: “That’s what this experience was all about: real actors taking my real work very seriously. This was invaluable to a young artist like myself. It made me feel like I wasn’t just some kid who wrote some play about moody teenagers and their moody rings — it made me feel like I was a real dramatic force that had something to say and they were there to cultivate that.”
That mutual respect has been the unique factor that keeps this long-running program alive, year after year. Even after the winning submissions have been chosen, the young writers are treated as professionals, with a cast of professional actors and a performance of their plays that is free and open to the public. Not a bad price to see the next big stars!
Ready to entertain you this year are high school winners Katelyn Bang, a junior at Bergen County Academics, and author of “Should Have Known;” “New Variables” by Jacob Moskovitz, a senior at Burlington Township High School; “Be Yourself” by Rayquan Santiago, a student at Warren Residential; and “Intersecting Points” by William Vence Jr., a senior at High Tech High School.
Winners of the elementary and middle school division are Luca Bambaci from Central Avenue Elementary School with his play “The Kidnapping,” Charlotte Porter from Bragg School with her play “Different Isn’t Bad,” Madison Scheiner from Kings Road Elementary School with her play “Space Issues,” Charles Basa from Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School with his play “The Violinist,” Lena Schmitt from Morristown High School with her play “How to Break Your Heart in 8 Hours,” and Ava Sibona from The Craig School with her play “World War of One.”
This year’s winners will be honored on two separate evenings. Winners of the high school division will have their plays performed on Monday, June 25th, and the elementary and middle school winners on June 26th. Both performances will take place at 7 PM on the campus of Farleigh Dickinson University, at the Dreyfuss Auditorium at 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ. You can find more information on the theatre’s website: www.wtnj.org.
Writers Theatre would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners and to extend their thanks to everyone who entered this year’s contest. You can find more information on the contest and how to enter on Writers Theatre of New Jersey’s website and follow their contest announcements on their Facebook page and Twitter.
For more information on any of Writers Theatre’s programs, please visit www.wtnj.org or contact Writers Theatre at P.O. Box 1295, Madison, NJ, 07940, 973-514-1787 x20 or [email protected]