Theater Project accepting entries for Young Playwrights Competition

UNION, NJ — The Theater Project is once again reaching out to creative young people for its 18th annual Young Playwrights Competition. Winners receive cash prizes and see their work performed by professional actors at the awards ceremony in March of 2020.

The submission deadline is Jan. 24. New Jersey’s high school playwrights submit their short plays at, where they will find all the necessary entry guidelines and formatting rules.

“We look forward to inspiring and being inspired,” Artistic Director Mark Spina said in a press release. “Every year, we are energized by the incredible talent and creativity in the entries, and every year we hope to inspire more young people to write and exercise their verbal abilities, critical thinking skills and creativity by providing a showcase for their work.”

On the day of the ceremony, the judges, members of The Theater Project’s Adult Playwrights Workshop, also offer half-hour tutorials to any interested contest entrant. 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.

“We want to make sure that kids know their creative efforts are valued by showcasing them for the community,” program coordinator Kevin Carver said. “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 and reading skills that are needed now more than ever.”

In last year’s contest, 10 young people were honored in the March awards ceremony. First prize went to Kianni Keys of Newark Academy; second prize went to Jaid Green of Bergen County Academies; and third prize went to Fiona Flynn of River Dell Regional High School. Honorable mentions were awarded to Jacqueline Acunto of Bergen County Academies; Julianna Felt of Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child; Stephen Lehren of Columbia High School; Jonathan Price of Plainfield High School; Angel Cruz Rodriguez of Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy; Spencer Scalamoni of Roxbury High School; and Peren Yesilyurt of Bergen County Academies. The three winners receive cash prizes; the honorable mentions are awarded gift certificates.

The Theater Project is an award-winning professional company in Union. The company also offers events in Cranford, Rahway and Maplewood.