by Rachel Holtzman
The New Jersey Young Playwrights festival is holding its thirty-first annual playwriting contest to provide feedback on students’ playwriting skills and to allow a select group of students to have their plays performed in a dramatic reading by professional actors.
According to njypf.org, the contest places students into one of four different categories: fourth through sixth grades, seventh through ninth grades, tenth through twelfth grades and Revolutionary Plays, a new category commemorating the 350th anniversary of the state of New Jersey.
For the contest, students must submit a one-act play of 20 pages or less by Jan. 13 or 14, depending on their grade level. Two winners are chosen in the intermediate division, while three are chosen from the upper division, according tonjypf.org.
Westfield resident Emma Ohlig, a sophomore at the Academy of Performing Arts and one of last year’s winners, said the page limit was tough but manageable.
“[The play] has to be short, sweet and to the point,” she added. “You don’t need a ton of exposition; just jump right into the action.”
English Teacher Mr. David Della Fera said that he encourages students in The Writer’s Craft to submit work to writing competitions.
The last WHS student to win this contest was then-senior Jake Brandman in 2006; he is now an NYU Tisch School of the Arts alum, according to nj.com.
Ohlig said she believes students should take a chance and give the competition a try, especially if they’re interested in playwriting.
“It’s such a good opportunity for experience and exposure,” she added. “The people who run it really want you to succeed and have fun.”