Elise Harvey, a sophomore from Bridgewater attending Hillsborough High School and the Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School Theatre Arts Program, captured first prize in The Theater Project’s prestigious 21st Annual Young Playwrights Competition.
A production of The Theater Project, a leading incubator for rising talent and a showcase for New Jersey artists, the competition featured high school students from throughout New Jersey.
The announcement was made by The Theater Project’s Board of Directors President Kevin Carver, who coordinates the state-wide competition made possible in part by a grant from Investors Bank Foundation, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance Stages Festival and The New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund.
“The goal of the competition is to encourage the next generation of theater writers by honoring their work and bringing it to life,” said Carver. “We invited 800 public and private high schools in New Jersey to participate and we got terrific, qualified entries.” Since its inception, students from 77 New Jersey high schools have been honored in the popular Young Playwrights Competition.
Harvey’s ‘Alistair’s Garden’—a drama/mystery about concerned parents dealing with the persistence of their daughter’s imaginary friend long after they had expected her to outgrow such things—captured first place.
Delia Mullen a senior at Communications High School, Wall Township, took second prize while Nicole Beltre a junior at Teaneck High school and Henry Frieman a senior at Communications High School, tied for third. The top four playwrights share the prestigious Joseph Curka Award for Young Playwrights.
Honorable mentions in this year’s competition went to MJ King (Morristown High School), Kristen Gallagher (Communications High School), Leila Kramer/Trevor Preece (Cherry Hill High School East), Mia Longenecker (Madison High School), Lucas Luchsinger (Union County Vocational Technical School, Scotch Plains), Charlie Patton (High Technology High School, Lincroft) and Jonathan Tejada (Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy, Elizabeth).
In addition to cash awards, certificates, and recognition, the four playwrights will get the opportunity to see their one-act plays recorded and performed virtually by professional actors on March 27 at 7:30pm. The performance will include a live award presentation, the opportunity to meet the 12 honorees and interaction with the winners. Registration for the free Zoom performance/ceremony is open to the public here.
“I am excited to win first prize in this competition,” said Harvey, who showed an early interest in the theater, performing in local shows from the time she was eight-years-old. “I began writing my own scripts in eighth grade and have been writing scripts ever since. I am very excited to see my work performed at the awards ceremony.”
For further information on The Theater Project, a 501(c)3 non-profit, professional theater producing off-Broadway quality shows for New Jersey audiences, visit TheTheaterProject.org.