UNION, N.J.: Premiere Stages at Kean University has named current student Jennifer Pillaga and alum Elaine Insinnia the winners of the 2022 Bauer Boucher Playwriting Awards. Both winners receive a cash prize and a one-day developmental reading of their play with a professional cast and director.
A virtual reading of Pillaga’s The House of Stars was held last month. The play follows a woman named Gloria, who moves from Guatemala to Jersey City and finds her son detained at a facility in Texas when her brother unexpectedly shows up at her door. Pillaga is a senior BFA candidate in theatre performance and recently became a Miranda Family Fellow after completing a summer intensive at the National Theater Institute. She has a variety of onstage performance credits at Kean.
A reading of Insinnia’s Belles Rebelle will be held at a later date at Lantern Hill Senior Living in New Providence, N.J. Set in 1895, the play follows May and Lydia, who marry in New York as man and wife, but Lydia is arrested after her identity is discovered when she votes illegally. The play was a finalist for the Leah Ryan Playwriting Contest. Insinnia’s play Always Split Aces and Eights won the one-act play contest at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in 2019, and her work has been commissioned by the Abingdon Theatre Company. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and ASOTO, a group dedicated to developing women’s plays.
Honorable mentions for this year’s Bauer Boucher Playwriting Awards include Fox Club by Chachi Rodriguez in the student category, and A Nation of Wounded Soldiers by Chris Grant and Drooga by Joelle Zazz in the alumnus category.
The Bauer Boucher Playwriting Awards were established in 2014 through funding by W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher to recognize the work of one Kean University student and one member of the alumni community. The award supports writers with dramaturgical feedback, a cash award, and the opportunity to hear their play read aloud by an ensemble of professional actors. The selected plays are directed by John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages. The winning student receives a cash prize of $1,000 and the winning alum receives an award of $2,000, while honorable mention recipients receive $150 each.
Premiere Stages is the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University, where it strives to expand the scope, accessibility, and prestige of professional theatre programming on campus.
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