Premiere Stages Wins Grant Award

Brigade of the American Revolution at Liberty Hall Museum (Photo credit: Bill Schroh)

UNION – Premiere Stages, the professional Actors’ Equity Association theatre in residence at Kean University, received a $5,000 from the Westfield Foundation to support the commissioning and production of a new short play dramatizing an important historical event that took place in Westfield. The play will explore the event’s impact on New Jersey and how it helped to shape both Westfield and the state overall.

In a collaborative program with Liberty Hall Museum called Liberty Live, one playwright will be commissioned to write the half-hour piece. Interested playwrights will submit proposals, to be reviewed by representatives from Premiere Stages, the Westfield Foundation, the Westfield Historical Commission, the New Jersey School Age Care Coalition and Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University. The committee will select the most promising proposal.

“This project will launch and serve as the pilot for Liberty Live,” said John Wooten, Premiere Stages producing artistic director. “The partnership between Liberty Hall Museum and Premiere Stages will commission, develop and produce plays by New Jersey playwrights that specifically explore the events and people who were instrumental in shaping what New Jersey is today.”

The play will be presented in October of 1012, at Liberty Hall Museum and will be designed to travel to other spaces as well. “This could be a model for developing new plays about many different New Jersey towns,” added Wooten.

Liberty Live is designed after the Premiere Play Festival, the heart of Premiere Stages’ programming. The Festival encourages and supports the creation of original plays and provides numerous developmental projects for emerging dramatists. Each year scripts are accepted from playwrights residing or born in the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania) and at least three are selected for expanded development as part of the Premiere Stages season.

As the theatre in residence at Kean University, Premiere Stages is committed to serving the cultural needs of the northern and central New Jersey regions through the development and production of Equity theatre premieres, professional development and training initiatives, and the cultivation of emerging playwrights and artists. Premiere Stages brings leading artists in the field and unique educational initiatives to Kean and the surrounding community.

Premiere Stages is located on the main campus of Kean University at 1000 Morris Avenue. For further information, visit Liberty Hall Museum is directly adjacent at 1003 Morris Avenue.

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