Monday, September 29, 2008


Playwrights Theatre is now accepting submissions for the NJ Young Playwrights Contest and Festival 2009! Please read the submission guidelines below.


Read this carefully. Plays not submitted in this format will be rejected.

Entries must be postmarked no later than January 16, 2009.

Preparing Your Submission

It looks like a long list of things to do, but don't worry, it's easy and we're here to help!

  • Plays must be in the style of the professional format example provided. See the format example here.

  • Submit three (3) copies of your play. Keep the original at home; scripts will not be returned.

  • Include a self-addressed, STAMPED, business-size envelope for return of reader feedback. Scripts without stamped envelopes will not be entered in the contest.

  • Plays may not be written by more than FIVE (5) authors who are residents of, or students in, New Jersey between the ages of 9 and 19.

  • All authors must be within the grade range of the division being entered.

  • College students are not eligible.

  • The choice of subject and style of language is up to you. However, you are strongly urged to use discretion, as the plays may become public.

  • Scripts must be no longer than 20 minutes in performance time and/or no longer than 20 typed pages.

  • Scripts must be typed in Times Roman, font size 12, color black, one-inch margins with pages numbers and stapled once in the upper left-hand corner. IMPORTANT: SCRIPTS SHOULD NOT BE BOUND IN ANY OTHER WAY.

  • Playwright's name and other personal information should appear on the cover page, but NOT appear anywhere else in the script. Playwright must include one (1) cover page with the following information (in this order): See the cover page sample here.
    1. Name
    2. Address (street, city, state, zip)
    3. NJ county in which you live
    4. Home telephone number
    5. E-mail address
    6. Grade in school
    7. Date of birth
    8. Parent/Guardian name
    9. School name and address
    10. School telephone and e-mail
    11. Principal's name
    12. English/Writing/Language teacher's name (if applicable)
    13. If you participated in a NJWP residency.
    14. If yes, then the name of the teaching artist
Please write on the envelope the school division (Elementary, Junior High, High School, Spanish Language, or Rewrites) in which the play or plays are entered.

Very Important: Entries for different divisions must be sent in separate envelopes.

Scripts submitted to previous New Jersey Young Playwrights Contests are not eligible, except for in the REWRITES Division.

Filmscripts, screenplays, adaptations of other author's work are not eligible.

Critiques and contest results will not be distributed until June 2009.

Plays are accepted in the following Divisions:Elementary (Grades 4-6)Junior High (Grades 7-9)High School (Grades 10-12)Spanish Language (Grades 10-12)Rewrites (Grades 10-12)


This division is an opportunity for students in Grades 10-12 to submit a revised version of a script submitted to a previous year’s NJ Young Playwrights Contests. One winner may be selected. Entries to the Rewrites Division must adhere to the submission guidelines, plus the following:
1. Submit three (3) copies of the original version of the script.

2. Submit three (3) copies of the revised version of the script.

3. Be sure each version is clearly marked on both the cover page, and first page of the script.

If you have any questions, contact the Education Department at Playwrights Theatre (973) 514-1787, ext. 14 or

Send your entry to:
c/o Playwrights Theatre
PO Box 1295
Madison, NJ 07940

Entries must be postmarked no later than January 16, 2009.

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The New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival is a project of Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. Funding is provided by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State. ® New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival and New Jersey Young Playwrights Program are registered to the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Where should I start?

Figuring out what to write is frustrating. The stops and starts you experience when first sitting down to write are just the mind’s way of sorting out all the potential places from which to begin. For some writers, starting is simply about putting pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard… and letting the ideas flow. The important thing to them is that words get written on the paper… or screen. Other writers will take time to think things through; perhaps creating detailed outlines or sketches before diving in. And still other writers have other methods - the ways to begin are as numerous as the people who sit down to write. There is no “best” way to start, but the best thing is to get started.

As we reboot the NJ Young Playwrights Festival for a 26th year, plans are in place to post to this blog some ideas, exercises, statements, and other items to help get you started on a new one-act play, and to keep you going once you’ve begun.

We'll begin with an article written by Alexandra R. Moses for Edutopia Magazine, an online and print publication from the George Lucas Educational Fund (yup, that George Lucas). The article centers on young playwrights programs across the county (including those sponsored by Playwrights Theatre) and is mainly geared for classroom teachers. However, there is some good information in there for young playwrights, particularly in the links to writing samples and guidelines/tips from other contests and festivals. The link is

The submission deadline for the NJ Young Playwrights Festival 2009 is a postmark of JANUARY 16, 2009. Submission guidelines will be posted to the Playwrights Theatre website and to this blog in the weeks to come. An official contest brochure will be in the mail to all New Jersey schools by the end of September, so let your teachers know to keep an eye out for that.

Keep checking this blog for writing tips and more information. For now, get writing!