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Theatre Arts Program Launches National High School Playwriting Competition

Two winners and five interns will gain on-campus experiences

Sacred Heart University is searching for high school playwrights to follow in the steps of Edward Albee, Neil Simon, Stephen Sondheim, Beth Henley, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Sarah Ruhl, among others.

The Sacred Heart University’s Theatre Arts Program (TAP) announces its inaugural National Playwriting Competition for high school students. Already renowned for nurturing student playwrights through its popular on-campus TheatreFest program, TAP will expand its focus on new works to include two high school playwrights.

Tony-nominated Broadway producer Jerry Goehring, performing arts director at SHU, uses his experience producing new works on and off Broadway to support young artists. “There are so many subjects that can be learned exclusively in a classroom, but theater just isn’t one of them,” he said. “Theater has to be hands-on; it has to be immersive. What better way for high school playwrights to learn their craft than by seeing their words come to life? It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Launched in 2009, TAP already is renowned for allowing its students ample opportunities to grow academically and as performers. The National High School Playwriting Competition will add to this tradition by inviting high school students from across the nation to submit new plays and musicals for a professional work experience on SHU’s campus during summer.

The competition will celebrate budding high school playwrights and potential Broadway artists of the future by spotlighting new plays. Two winning playwrights will be invited to campus for an all-expenses-paid week of script development, one-on-one instruction and feedback from industry professionals. Their casts and crews will come from the Sacred Heart University Rep Company.

The creative process will involve access to the University’s state-of-the-art theater facilities. After a series of intense workshops, scene analyses, story work and rewrites, the week will culminate with a public staged reading and feedback from the audience.

In addition to the high school playwrights, TAP will invite five high school students to intern for the summer theater program, during which they will support the winning playwrights, take in workshops for pre-Broadway musicals and attend a performance of the off-Broadway musical, Avenue Q.

“These positions are for high school students who are passionate about theater and keeping it a part of their lives,” said Goehring. “As interns, they will do everything: hang lights, run a soundboard, step in to act—you name it.”

Application deadline for the internship program is April 1, 2017. The competition deadline was Dec. 1.

For more details, visit