(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, is now accepting submissions for the 14th annual Premiere Play Festival. This yearly competition for unproduced scripts offers developmental and production opportunities to four playwrights with strong ties to the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware).
This year, Premiere Stages has announced increases to all financial awards for winners, and has expanded its eligibility to include playwrights from Delaware. Premiere will accept submissions now through December 15, 2017, and select four finalists by early March 2018; any submissions received before or after this submission window will not be considered. All four finalists will receive developmental readings, scheduled for March 15-18, 2018, with a winner and runner-up to be announced in April 2018. The festival winner will be awarded a $2,500 advance and receive a full Equity production during Premiere Stages 2018 Mainstage Season; the runner-up will receive $1,000 and an Equity 29-hour staged reading in June 2018. The two remaining finalists will each receive an honorarium of $750.
Through the uniquely accelerated Play Festival process, Premiere Stages provides an encouraging and highly focused environment in which playwrights can develop their work. Premiere Stages also actively advocates for Festival writers by reaching out to other theatres to secure subsequent productions, and partnering with other organizations and theatres to extend the profile and life of the works developed.
“We are pleased to increase the awards and developmental opportunities that we can afford to regional dramatists. We are developing a record number of playwrights at Premiere in 2017 and we look forward to this trend continuing in 2018,” stated John J. Wooten, Producing Artistic Director and founder of Premiere Stages.
In the fourteen seasons since its founding, the Premiere Play Festival has received over 3,500 submissions and developed more than fifty plays. Multiple plays produced at Premiere have been honored by the American Theatre Critics Association, and/or been published by Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing Company, Playscripts, and Broadway Play Publishing. A number of Play Festival winners and finalists have subsequently been produced in New York and at regional theatres across the country, including 2017 finalists Patricia Cotter’s 1980 (Or Why I’m Voting For John Anderson) premiering at Jackalope Theatre Company in October, and Sarah Gancher’s Seder, premiering next month at Hartford Stage.
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All 2017 Premiere Play Festival entries will be evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals in consultation with Premiere artistic staff. Agents and theatre professionals with an affiliation to Premiere Stages may submit full scripts; playwrights may submit a synopsis and script sample directly. The submission window is September 15, 2017 through December 15, 2017, and there is no fee to enter the competition. Complete submission guidelines are available online. Premiere Stages is committed to supporting a diverse group of writers; playwrights of all backgrounds, ages, and experience levels are encouraged to submit. All entrants are encouraged to review Premiere Stages’ production history, which is also posted on the website.
Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at www.premierestagesatkean.com.
Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant, and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit www.JerseyArts.com for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.
ABOUT PREMIERE STAGES
Created in 2004, Premiere Stages is the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University. Through its unique partnership with Kean, Premiere’s play development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities actively embrace the university's academic curriculum while expanding the scope, accessibility, and prestige of the professional programming on campus. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at www.premierestagesatkean.com.
ABOUT KEAN UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University’s five undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctoral degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit www.kean.edu.
PHOTO: Ariel Woodiwiss as Leslie and Kurt Uy as Josh in Chris Cragin-Day's Foster Mom, winner of the 2017 Premiere Play Festival. Photo by Mike Peters.