Each year, most of our audiences miss the best free show in town – the day we give prizes and perform the four short plays that have won our annual competition for NJ high school playwrights.
Actors from The Theater Project volunteer their time to perform the plays; adult writers from our Playwrights Workshop share their time in preshow tutorials with our budding artists, and our savviest patrons share this experience with the friends and families of our young winners.
There is a lot to see and observe here: a lot of life and a lot of drama going on all around, and everyone who attends get to see, for free, how sharing the arts can stimulate collaboration, critical thinking, and just plain LIFE –- that awareness of the possibilities of existence that artists young and old want to bring to our attention.
Putting this event together each year, from communicating with schools, evaluating the entries, casting the plays and arranging the preshow pizza for our winners – is in itself a production bigger than most on our main stage.
But the acceptance speeches by the kids always leave us feeling that we want to do it again the next year. We see that we have opened a door to the idea that writing – really writing -- is worthwhile, because if they communicate, someone will listen.
Whether they eventually write for the stage, the screen or the interoffice memo, they will write better because they had a platform when they were young – they understand now, they feel now because they have lived it, that writing is about communication – it’s about the audience.