Twelve extraordinarily talented students will be honored at The Theater Project's eighteenth annual Young Playwrights Competition Performance and Awards Ceremony on Monday, October 19 at 7:00pm. The event also celebrates the launch of the 2021 Competition.
The goal of the competition is to encourage the next generation of theater practitioners and audience by honoring their work and bringing it to life. The Theater Project, an award-winning professional company based in Union, NJ, is committed to the concept that arts participation builds fundamental skills in reading, writing and critical thinking, crucial at all ages.
The October 19 performance and awards ceremony will be hosted by Theater Project artistic director Mark Spina, and award-winning playwright, screenwriter and novelist, Bill Mesce, Jr, of Linden. His most recent book, No Rule Theat Isn't A Dare: How Writers Connect With Readers is published by Serving House Books. His 2015 World War II novel, A Cold And Distant Place, was a finalist for the Edward Hoffer Award’s Montaigne Medal for “most thought-provoking books” from the field of small and academic presses.
This year’s honorees represent six different high schools and ten different towns. At the event, the four prize winners will see their work performed by the professional actors of The Theater Project; honorable mentions will be presented with citations and gift certificates. The event, which is free and open to the public, has been proudly supported by grants from Investors Foundation and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
Submissions for the 2021 event are being accepted through January 22. Information about how to participate in next year’s competition is available online.
RECIPIENTS OF THE JOSEPH CURKA AWARD:
FIRST PRIZE: Sam Zaslow-Braverman, Golda Och Academy, West Orange
SECOND PRIZE: A TIE: Mika Cullen - Leonia High School, Lily Piede - Montclair Kimberley Academy
THIRD PRIZE: Lindsey Polevoy – Bergen County Academies, Hackensack
Honorable Mentions: Jacob Makofske, Northern Highlands Regional High School, Allendale; Lucille O'Donnel, Diana Benenaula, Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy, Elizabeth. Isabella Castillo, Mariana Meriles, Natalie Painter, Jordan Orlando, Aidan Winn, Bergen County Academies, Hackensack.
The Joseph Curka Award received by the students honors the memory of Mrs. Marion Curka’s late husband. Mrs. Curka was a long-time friend and supporter of The Theater Project. The company presents a wide range of programs, including a free series of monthly readings/discussions of new plays by NJ authors at the Cranford Community Center, sponsored by Friends of the Cranford Library.
Prior to the awards ceremony, The Theater Project provides free online tutorials for any interested entrant in this year’s competition. Each young author is offered a half hour script consultation with one of the adult playwrights or directors from the Theater Project.