Playwrights Theatre will be conducting various writing residencies this spring in Newark through their New Jersey Writer's Project, a co-sponsored program with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Playwrights Theatre was one of eighteen organizations pre-qualified to provide educational services to the Newark Board of Education.
Playwrights Theatre has been conducting residencies this fiscal year to: Louise Spencer School, Adelaide L. Sandford Charter School, Newark Student Center and University Heights Charter School. In addition to these locations, Playwrights Theatre will also have writing residencies at Branch Brook Elementary School and B.R.I.C.K. Academy. Link Community School, Arts HS, University Heights Charter School, East Side HS, History High and McKinley School also plan to have programs in place with Playwrights Theatre in the near future.
Playwrights Theatre's residencies will provide academic afterschool and enrichment programming to reinforce the Newark Public School students understanding of their school curriculum and enhance their intellectual well-being.
"For over 20 years, Playwrights Theatre has been teaching hands-on writing residencies in schools and community-based programs in Newark," said Artistic Director John Pietrowski. "Over 1,000 Newark students annually receive an invaluable literacy and arts experience from professional writers who have years of experience teaching children in the school environment."
Playwrights Theatre will select some of the student's works to be performed by professional actors at this year's Stages Festival to be held at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) on March 8, 2013. The New Jersey Theatre Alliance's Stages Festival is a statewide theatre "open-house" with free and discounted tickets to performances, workshops and events offered by New Jersey's 31 Professional Member Theatres throughout the month of March.
"We're thrilled that The Stages Festival has helped Playwrights Theatre revive this wonderful program that supports the creative life of young people in Newark," said John McEwen, Executive Director of New Jersey Theatre Alliance. "Playwrights Theatre's Young Writers Festivals have served thousands of young people in New Jersey over the last 20 years, and we're delighted to see it return to Newark."
The Stages Festival began 16 years ago as a one-week program for young people and their families (originally called Family Week at the Theatre), but the program was so popular, and member theatres kept offering new events for people of all ages, that the Theatre Alliance - with the help of their funding partners - expanded it beyond the original week. The organization and its member theatres now provide a full month of performances, workshops and programs for theatre lovers in all the stages of their lives.
"We're pleased to provide support for the Newark Young Playwrights Program and we proudly fund the Stages Festival," said Jonathan R. Pearson, Executive Director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. "These programs are two extraordinary examples of how the arts help to enrich the lives and quality of life in New Jersey's communities."
The Newark Young Playwrights Program is supported by The Victoria Foundation, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, The MCJ Foundation, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, with additional funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
The Stages Festival is a co-sponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional program sponsors are Bank of America, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and the Springpoint Senior Living Foundation. This year, with the endorsement and generous support of funders and patrons, The Stages Festival is able to offer additional special events. In keeping with their missions to provide arts access to all, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and New Jersey Performing Arts Center have teamed up to offer a festival-within-the-festival at NJPAC on Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9. Theatre Alliance members will offer a variety of performances and workshops for all ages at NJPAC. Additional support for The Stages Festival events at NJPAC are provided by Bank of America, The Victoria Foundation and The Prudential Foundation.