Theatre Arts Program Launches National High School Playwriting Competition

News Story: November 11, 2016

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 or Sarah Ruhl, among others.

The Sacred Heart University 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 now expand its focus on new works to include two high school playwrights.

SHU’s Performing Arts Director Jerry Goehring, a Tony-nominated Broadway producer, 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 theatre just isn't one of them. Theatre has to be 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."

TAP, launched in 2009, is already renowned for allowing its students ample opportunities to grow academically as well as performers throughout each academic year. Adding to this tradition, the National High School Playwriting Competition, will now expand into the summer months by inviting high school students from across the nation, as well as potential Broadway artists of the future, to submit new plays and musicals for a professional work experience on the campus of Sacred Heart University.

The National High School Playwriting Competition will celebrate the budding high school playwright by working on new plays selected from a national competition. Selected from all of the submitted plays, two young playwrights will be invited to campus for an all-expenses paid week of script development. Each playwright will receive one-on-one instruction and feedback from industry professionals. The cast and crew will come from the Sacred Heart University Rep Company. The creative process will involve access to the University's state-of-the-art theatre facilities. After a series of intense workshops, scene analyses, story work and rewrites, each playwright's week will culminate with a public staged reading. Each reading will be followed by an audience talkback from the attending theatre-going public.

In addition to the high school playwrights, TAP will invite five high school students to intern for the summer theatre program, which will include supporting the high school playwrights, pre-Broadway new musical workshops and a production of the laugh-out-loud musical, Avenue Q.

"These positions are for those high school students who are passionate about theatre and keeping it a part of their lives. As an intern, you'll do everything; hang lights, run a soundboard, step in to act - you name it," said Goehring.

Applicants for the National Playwright Competition must submit by December 1, 2016. Applicants for the internship program must submit by April 1, 2017. For more details, visit