kean las crucesPHOTO: Diomargy Nuñez and Brian Sutherland in Vincent Delaney’s Las Cruces, winner of the 2016 Premiere Stages Play Festival. Photo by Mike Peters.

UNION, N.J. – Beginning October 1, Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, will accept submissions for the 13th annual Premiere Stages 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, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut).

Premiere will accept submissions October 1, 2016 through January 1, 2017, and select four finalists by March 1, 2017; any submissions received before or after this submission window will not be considered. All four finalists will receive developmental readings, scheduled for March 9-12, 2017, with a winner and runner-up to be announced in April 2017. The festival winner will be awarded a $2,000 advance and receive a full Equity production during Premiere Stages’ 2017 Season; the runner-up will receive $750 and an Equity 29-hour staged reading in June 2017. The two remaining finalists will each receive an honorarium of $500. 

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.

“At Premiere Stages, regional dramatists are afforded the opportunity to have their topical plays fast-tracked from sit-down readings to fully staged productions within a few short months, ensuring that important new works are seen when they are still vital and relevant,” stated John J. Wooten, Producing Artistic Director and founder of Premiere Stages.


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In the thirteen seasons since its founding, the Premiere Stages Play Festival has received over 3,000 submissions and developed more than forty 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 also subsequently been produced in New York and at regional theatre across the country, including Nick Gandiello’s The Blameless (2016 Finalist), premiering at The Old Globe in February 2017; Lindsey Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the Bone (2014 Finalist), which was presented at Roundabout Theatre Company and Shakespeare & Company; and Kimber Lee’s Brownsville Song (2013 Finalist), which was produced by Lincoln Center Theater and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

All 2017 Play Festival entries will be evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals in consultation with the Producing Artistic Director, Producing Associate and Literary Assistant.  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 October 1, 2016 through January 1, 2017, and there is no fee to enter the competition. Complete submission guidelines are available online at 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 advanced notice. Please call 908-737-4092 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, visit Premiere Stages online at

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Provident Bank Foundation, Union County HEART Grants, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festival and through the generous support of individual patrons. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.


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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...