Liberty Live Commission 2020/21
Information about the 2020/21 Liberty Live Commission now available!
Premiere Stages is committed to supporting New Jersey playwrights through the development and production of new plays. In conjunction with the annual Premiere Play Festival, Premiere Stages runs a biennial commission program for New Jersey writers called Liberty Live. Liberty Live is a unique partnership with Kean University's Liberty Hall Museum to develop and produce new plays that celebrate New Jersey's rich and diverse history.
Premiere Stages is dedicated to supporting a diverse group of writers; playwrights of all backgrounds, ages, and experience levels are encouraged to apply. There are no restrictions on casting; characters may be of any age, gender, or race. Premiere Stages is dedicated to celebrating the wide diversity that enriches New Jersey.
Liberty Live Details
Submit your proposal through September 1, 2020!
From June 15, 2020 through September 1, 2020, Premiere Stages will accept proposals for plays from playwrights who are current residents of New Jersey that explore a historical event or events that provide compelling ideas for dramatic storytelling. A shortlist of proposals will be selected as finalists, and playwrights will be interviewed by Premiere Stages. The winning proposal will be developed in 2019-2020. The play will receive a series of public staged readings in October 2019. Throughout the process, Premiere Stages will provide dramaturgical support for the playwright to further develop the play, as well as forge partnerships with groups statewide to grow the audience for the play. The project will culminate with a full Equity production at the Liberty Hall Museum in October 2020.
All proposals will be evaluated by a panel of theatre and history professionals. The panel will submit their recommendations to the Producing Artistic Director and Premiere Stages staff. All playwrights will be notified of submission status.
The winning proposal will be selected in November 2020 and the commissioned writer will receive a $2000 advance.
Our Liberty Live Commission Guidelines are available in PDF format!
- Playwright must be a current resident of New Jersey.
- Proposed script must have a cast size of no more than 5 actors.
- Proposed script must explore a topic from New Jersey history; submissions should not be set in or around the settings of previous commissions (see Liberty Live History page).
- Musicals will not be considered at this time.
- Submissions are limited to one proposal per playwright.
- Playwrights must be available for the development of their script (see schedule).
- Submissions are accepted June 15, 2020 through 11:59 p.m. on September 1, 2020.
- All plays must be submitted as a PDF via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hard copies will not be accepted.
Premiere Stages will accept submissions from playwrights with or without an agent.
Interested playwrights should submit:
1. A proposal of no more than 5 pages. All proposals must include the following information:
- Background/significance of the proposal topic.
- A synopsis of the basic plot of the proposed play.
- A proposed scene breakdown.
- A proposed character breakdown.
- Explaination of why the playwright is inspired to write a play on this particular topic.
2. 10-page writing sample from a completed play. The panel may request the full script or additional writing samples.
3. Current playwriting bio.
Recommended Submission Topics
Premiere is particularly interested in proposals that explore:
- The history of women's voting rights in New Jersey, including either (or both) of the centennial of the 19th Amendment's ratification (1920) or the brief era of women's voting in Confederation and Federalist New Jersey (1776-1807).
- Thomas Mundy Peterson of Perth Amboy, the first African American to cast a vote under the 15th Amendment (1870).
- The demonstration by Thomas Alva Edison that an entire town could be lit with electricity in Roselle (1883).
- The Underground Railroad in New Jersey; particularly Quaker figures like Abigail Goodwin and Rev. William S. Hall and African American figures like Peter Mott and the leaders of various A.M.E. Churches that hid escaping slaves (1830-1865).
- The charitable impulses behind — and brutal "treatments" inside — the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital (now rumored to be haunted), particularly under the auspices of Dr. Henry Cotton (1907-1930).