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Lawrenceville School student captures Young Playwrights Competition

Photo Courtesy of Digital Vision/Total Public Relations
Lawrenceville School’s Lina Olazabal, an 18-year-old senior, recently captured The Theater Group’s Young Playwrights Competition. 

Lina Olazabal, a 17-year-old senior from The Lawrenceville School, won first prize in The Theater Project’s prestigious 20th annual Young Playwrights Competition.

A production of The Theater Project, a leading incubator for rising talent and a showcase for New Jersey artists, the competition featured high school students from throughout New Jersey.

Izaiah Solano, an 18-year-old senior from Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy, took second in the competition while Mia Longenecker, a 16-year-old sophomore from Madison High School and 17-year-old senior Isabel Lindsay of Communications High School tied for third, according to a prepared statement.

The top four finishers receive the Joseph Curka Award for Young Playwrights.

All the high school students who entered the Young Playwrights Competition are offered a one-on-one session with an adult playwright to discuss their scripts.

“We invited 800 public and private high schools in New Jersey to participate and despite the challenges COVID presented, we still got terrific, qualified entries,” said Board of Directors President Kevin Carver, who coordinates the statewide competition, said in the statement. “It just shows that these talented, young playwrights want to create and are willing to overcome the hurdles the pandemic presented.”

Since its inception, students from 74 New Jersey high schools have been honored in the popular Young Playwrights Competition.

Brennan Columbia-Walsh (Montclair Kimberly Academy), Ben Glickman (Newark Academy), Simone Graziano (Absegami High School), Angel Jacob (Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy), Allison Lee (Churchill Junior High School), Jacqueline Litowinsky (Communications High School), and Sofia Sepulveda Pizarro (East Brunswick High School) won honorable mention.

All 11 students—representing nine different high schools in 10 different New Jersey towns—were honored March 28, at a virtual Young Playwrights Competition Performance and Awards Ceremony. At the ceremony, the top four finishers saw their work performed by the professional actors of The Theater Project while honorable mention winners received citations and gift certificates.

The virtual event was free and open to the public via Zoom thanks to Investors Foundation and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s 25th Annual Stages Festival, which offers free and low-cost events throughout the state.

The Young Playwrights Competition is part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festival, the state’s largest annual theatre festival, which provides free and discounted theatre events for all ages throughout March, April, and May.

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