Premiere Stages at Kean University Seeks Submissions to Annual Play Festival

This yearly competition for unproduced scripts offers developmental and production opportunities to up to five playwrights with ties to the greater metropolitan area.

By: Aug. 31, 2022
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Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, is accepting submissions for the 18th annual Premiere Play Festival beginning Thursday, September 1. This yearly competition for unproduced scripts offers developmental and production opportunities to up to five playwrights with strong ties to the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware).

Previous winners of the Premiere Play Festival have included Dominique Morisseau, Vincent Delaney, Tammy Ryan, Guillermo Reyes, Keith Josef Adkins, Kathyrn Grant, Craig Garcia, and Erik Gernand. In 2022/23, Premiere will develop three new playwrights as part of the Festival. Gino Diiorio's Scab, a 2020/21 Play Festival finalist, runs September 8-25, 2022 at the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center. A staged reading of Matthew Paul Olmos' a home what howls (or the house what was ravine), a finalist in the 2022 Play Festival, is scheduled for November 2022. The winner of the 2022 Play Festival is Satellites by Erin Breznitsky. It is scheduled to have a full production as part of Premiere Stages' 2023 season.

"We are so pleased to be back producing a full slate of Festival events at Premiere." stated John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages, "The world has gone through profound changes in the past few years and we can't wait to read the stories our region's playwrights have been inspired to tell."

Premiere will accept submissions September 1 through November 14, 2022, and select four to five finalists by Spring 2023; any submissions received before or after this submission window will not be considered. In an effort to streamline the process and make it more user-friendly, Premiere will accept all submissions electronically through Submittable at (this link is also available through Premiere's website).

All finalists will receive developmental readings, scheduled for Spring 2023 with a winner and runner-up to be announced in June 2023. The festival winner will be awarded a $3000 advance and receive a full Equity production in July 2024; the runner-up will receive $1500 and an Equity 29-hour staged reading. The remaining finalists will each receive an honorarium of $1000. In 2021, Premiere Stages received 655 submissions to the 2022 Festival. 35 Semi-Finalists were announced in March 2022 and four finalists went on to have staged readings at Liberty Hall Museum in April 2022.

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 partners with other organizations and theatres to extend the profile and life of the works developed.

In the seventeen seasons since its founding, the Premiere Play Festival has received over 6,500 submissions and developed more than eighty plays. Multiple plays produced at Premiere have been honored by the American Theatre Critics Association, selected for agency representation, and/or been published by Concord/Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing Company, Playscripts, and Broadway Play Publishing. A number of Play Festival winners and finalists have subsequently been produced in New York, internationally and at regional theatres across the country.

All 2023 Premiere Play Festival entries will be evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals in consultation with Premiere artistic staff. Agents and theatre professionals with an affiliation to Premiere Stages may submit full scripts; playwrights may submit a synopsis and script sample directly. In 2022, almost half of the 35 Semi-Finalists were first received as samples. Of the four finalists, three came from script samples.

The submission window is September 1, 2022 through November 14, 2022, and there is no fee to enter the competition. Complete submission guidelines are available 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 advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Carole Shaffer-Koros and Robert Koros and ExxonMobil Foundation, The Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.

Premiere Stages is committed to producing topical plays and interactive programs that reflect people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, national origins, nationalities, ancestry, religious groups, gender expression or identities, sexual orientation, political beliefs, ages, abilities and disabilities.


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