•   |  Young Playwrights Competition

    Above: Young Playwright winners and Bennington College actors at the 2017 Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights readings.

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    Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights Competition

    2017 Winners

    Middle School:
    The Blackmail
    By George Zilkha from Maple Street School (faculty mentor: Conor Welch)

    High School: 
    For the Greater Good
    By Will Koch from Stratton Mountain School (faculty mentor: Mary Mangiacotti)

    How to Write an Essay
    By Gracie Smith from Arlington Memorial School (faculty mentor: Gayna Cross)

    Drama Skit
    By Rudy Senecal from Burr and Burton Academy (faculty mentor: James Raposa)

    Each winter and spring, Dorset Theatre Festival teaches play writing residencies in the many regional high schools and middle schools that participate in the Young Playwrights program. This year, these students are under the guidance of playwright Nick Gandiello. Participating student writers also take advantage of feedback from Bennington College mentors as they write and re-write their play drafts prior to submission to the Competition. Winners are chosen by a panel of nationally recognized playwrights, and the winning plays will have a staged reading performed at the Playhouse in Fall 2017. Their teachers, family and community come together to hear these readings as the Dorset Theatre Festival community celebrates these brand new plays and the young writers who made them possible!

    Above: Bennington College actors and Artistic Director Dina Janis at the 2017 Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights readings

    More about the Young Playwrights Program:

    The Annual Young Playwrights Competition provides an opportunity for students in regional middle and high schools to learn about play writing and create a play of their own, with help from the Dorset Theatre Festival play writing mentors, a group of advanced play writing students at Bennington College. After a series of workshops, students are invited to submit a short play for adjudication by a panel of nationally recognized professional playwrights. Winners from each group (middle and high school levels) are given a public staged reading onstage at the Festival in the autumn along with an award and special gift.

    Featured Artist: Nick Gandiello

    “Every class I visited through the Young Playwrights Competition was bursting with imagination, enthusiasm, and curiosity. The students were eager to create worlds and characters and stories. My favorite moment in each of these classes is when a student realized that these worlds and stories were theirs; the choices for what should happen and how were entirely up to them. Engaging students with the arts encourages them to find their own voices, and to explore the world around them and empathize with others in new ways.” -Playwright Nick Gandiello


    Nick Gandiello is a playwright, screenwriter, and teaching artist based in New York. His plays include The Blameless (The Old Globe)Oceanside (Merrimack Repertory Theatre), The Wedge Horse (Fault Line Theatre), Sunrise Highway (Ojai Playwrights Conference), Black Fly Spring (Xavier University), Swept (Williamstown Theatre Festival), At the Finish (Smith and Kraus’s The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2014), and Teeming Shore (The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2015). Mr. Gandiello was the 2015 Page 73 Productions Playwriting Fellow and was the winner of the 2016 Marin Theatre Company David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize. He is an alumnus of the Ars Nova Play Group. His work has been developed or presented by Manhattan Theatre Club, Lark Play Development Center, The Flea, Samuel French’s Off Off Broadway Festival, Capital Stage, Premiere Stages, and Wide Eyed Productions, among others.  Mr. Gandiello was the Literary Manager of Young Playwrights Inc. from 2012 to 2015 and is the Associate Artistic Director of Writopia Lab’s Worldwide Plays Festival. He received his M.F.A. from The New School for Drama.


    This program is made possible through the support of the following organizations: