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Playwright Discovery Program of Specials Arts at Residential Center for Boys

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Playwrights Theatre has partnered with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for two Writings from the residents of the Greenfields Residential Community Home in Ringwood, NJ, the results of a 10-week workshop conducted for the Playwright Discovery Program of Very Special Arts in Washington, DC. Playwrights Theatre provided a playwriting and creative writing residency at Greenfield’s Residential Center which houses 32 incarcerated boys ages 13-16.

During the 24-session residency, master teaching artists Dominique Cieri and Horace Jackson fostered group collaboration through writing, movement and visual arts dramatizing the participant’s perspectives on their lives creating two theatrical performance pieces. As this residency comes to a close, there will be a presentation for family, friends and the public of the young men’s work, and a documentation of their creative writing will be produced in an anthology.

The performance will take place in the Horizon Theatre at NJPAC on Friday, February 21, 2014, at 7pm. The performance will consist of plays and poems written in the class and will be performed by the residents working alongside professional actors. A post-performance talk-back will be held with the boys and the residency teaching artists. The public is invited free of charge.

“We are very grateful to The Playwright Discovery Program at Very Special Arts in Washington DC for providing us with the contract to return to Greenfields after a five-year hiatus. Prior to state funding cuts that precluded the continuation of our program at Greenfields, we had been teaching residencies at the site for nearly twenty years,” said John Pietrowski, Playwrights Theatre’s Artistic Director. “This has allowed us to return and do this important creative and academic skills-based activity with the residents. We really encourage the public to come by and see the performance. The guys have a lot to say, and they say it with a lot of ingenuity and energy.”

The VSA Playwright Discovery Competition invites middle and high school students to take a closer look at the world around them, examine how disability affects their lives and the lives of others, and express their views through the art of script writing. Writers may write from their own experience and observations, or create fictional characters and settings. Scripts can be comedies, dramas, or even musicals-be creative! Young writers with and without disabilities are encouraged to submit a script. Entries may be the work of an individual student or a collaboration by a group of students.
About Greenfields Residential Community Home: Green Residential Community Home is located in rural Passaic County on the grounds of Ringwood State Park. It is a residential facility for younger male juvenile offenders between the ages of 14 and 17. The center serves a maximum of 28 residents.

The program’s goal is to provide a safe, secure, and structured environment where program participants learn to modify their behaviors and reactions; utilizing ART (Aggression Replacement Training), and other proven treatment modalities. Through these concepts, residents learn to adapt to change, accept accountability, and develop self-discipline. Individual and group counseling is provided by a contracted Psychologist and Psychiatrist.

About Playwrights Theatre:

Founded in 1986, Playwrights Theatre is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit professional theatre and arts education institution dedicated to developing and nurturing the dramatic imagination of artists, students, and audiences. Our New Play Program creates development opportunities for professional writers through readings, workshops and productions, and invites audiences to participate in authentic feedback experiences. Our New Jersey Writers Project, Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest and Festival, and Creative Arts Academy programs provide a comprehensive and hands-on arts education experience to over 31,000 students, Pre-K through adult.

Playwrights Theatre is a member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the National New Play Network, and Madison Arts & Culture Alliance.

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