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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Garden State New Play Festival: Bridging Art and Community


Deadline: June 30th, 2024

Submissions via Google Docs Form

The New Jersey Play Lab is thrilled to partner with Jersey City Theatre Center (JCTC) and the Department of Theatre and Dance’s BA Theatre Studies Program at Montclair State University on The Garden State New Play Festival, an innovative model that reimagines the approach to new play development and festivals, fostering a supportive environment for playwrights while actively engaging audiences and communities.

Submissions are now open for the inaugural festival which will take place in the spring of 2025. Submissions will be accepted through June 30th, 2024

Plays in all styles and traditions that center around social justice (locally, nationally, or globally) will be considered. Social Justice can mean many things so we encourage playwrights to think broadly, individually, and personally around this topic. 

There are no residency restrictions on submissions, but playwrights will be expected to be in-person in Jersey City on a number of occasions between October 2024 and May 2025. There is assistance with housing but travel costs are not included and will be the responsibility of the playwright.

Playwrights must submit and will be chosen for this new play festival in one of the following categories:Working or Career Playwrights (This category is for writers who consider playwriting to be their primary career path.) 

Beginning or Non-Career Playwrights (This category may include writers who are relatively new to the full-length format, or writers who have been creating plays for years but have opted for an alternative professional career path).

Playwrights should submit:
  • a cover letter
  • a resume
  • a synopsis of the play
  • the first 20 pages of the play
Other participants in this multi-faceted festival will include community members from Jersey City-based advocacy groups, student playwrights from local universities and high schools, and an international artist either from abroad, or from one of the area’s thriving immigrant populations.

All of these artists will engage in a 6 month (October-March) development and exchange program under the dramaturgical guidance of The NJPL, with assistance and mentored participation from Dramaturgy Students and Alumni from The BA Theatre Program at Montclair State University .

This new approach to new play development aims to bring artists of all career levels together without barriers of hierarchy, and to blur the lines between artist and audience, while still respecting the integrity of each individual artist’s craft and experience. It aims to frame the art of playmaking as a means of expression and advocacy, and as a tool for deeper understanding of self and one’s surroundings. It aims to detract from an emphasis on quality and viability and place the focus on intention and communication. It aims to serve as a model for how to truly bring audiences into the process of playmaking through cultivating and honoring their own artistic impulses, thus simultaneously inspiring more people to create art and fostering an audience with an appreciation and appetite for new work on the stage.

For more information please contact info@njplaylab.org.

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