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Sacred Heart University's Theater Program Seeks Teen Playwrights

Jerry Goehring, a Tony Award-nominated Broadway producer, is program director of the theater arts program at Sacred Heart University. Photo Credit: Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University is reaching out to high school students who want to be the next Lin-Manuel Miranda. Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Fairfield's 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 -- by offering both a playwright competition and internships.

The university's theater arts program is hosting its inaugural National Playwriting Competition for high school students. The program already nurtures student playwrights through its popular TheatreFest program, and it's seeking to expand its focus to new works from two high school playwrights.

Jerry Goehring, a Tony Award-nominated Broadway producer, is the artistic director of the theater program, which launched in 2009. He uses his experience producing new works, both 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," Goehring said. "Theatre 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."

This competition invites high school students from across the nation to submit new plays and musicals for a professional work experience on the university campus. Two young playwrights will be invited to the campus for an all-expense paid week of script development in July.

Each will receive one-on-one instruction and feedback from industry professionals, as well as have access to the university's state-of-the-art theater facilities.

After a series of intense workshops, scene analyses, story work and rewrites, each playwright's week will culminate with a public staged reading -- with the help of cast and crew will come from the Sacred Heart University Rep Company -- followed by an audience talkback.

The contest deadline is Thursday, Dec. 1. Go here to apply.

Additionally, Sacred Heart University's theater arts program will invite five high-school students to intern for its summer theater programming, which will include supporting the high school playwrights, attending pre-Broadway new musical workshops and presentations, guerilla Shakespeare 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," Goehring said.

Applications must be submitted by April 1. Get all the details and apply here .

Contact Goehring with questions at 203-371-7926 or goehring@sacredheart.edu.

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