(Dorset, VT – May 12, 2021) Dorset Theatre Festival has announced the submission deadline for the 8th annual Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights Competition, and details for the public presentation of the winning plays. 

Dorset Theatre Festival is inviting students to submit their plays for their 8th annual Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights Festival. Regardless of whether or not a student or classroom participated in the online workshops, all middle and high school students in Vermont are eligible and encouraged to submit their work.

A panel of professional playwrights and theatre artists from across the country will read the submissions and select winning pieces. Selected playwrights will be recognized in a live presentation and professional actors will read excerpts from their work. This year’s deadline for submissions is Friday, May 28, and the ceremony will be held virtually on Friday, June 11 at 4:00 PM 

An annual collaboration between Dorset Theatre Festival and local schools, Dorset Theatre Festival’s Young Playwrights program provides regional middle and high school students the opportunity to learn about playwriting and create plays of their own. Since the pandemic began, the Festival has continued to offer its classes online, free for all participants. 

Offering Young Playwrights online has expanded the reach of the program, according to Dina Janis, the Festival’s artistic director. “Now this Vermont tradition is available both to more schools in Vermont, as well as to students and teachers anywhere in the country,” said Janis. 

This year over 200 students have participated in more than 75 online workshops since November. 

Educators incorporated the program into their classrooms in various ways, all of which explored the fundamentals of playwriting: character, dialogue, structure, and conflict. 

“So many students were confined to online or hybrid learning this year, and many didn’t have the same extracurricular offerings as in years past. In the online workshops I have been lucky to teach this year, students have been brimming with enthusiasm,” said 2021 Young Playwrights coordinator and teaching artist, Heidi Armbruster.  

The program’s goal, according to Armbruster, was to provide an online interactive course in playwriting for students without creating additional lesson-planning for educators. Instructors scheduled sessions for a whole class, individual sessions for specific students, or simply used videos from the on-demand course in their own lesson plans as they wished.

Armbruster is a New York City-based theatre artist who has worked extensively in creating new work, both as a playwright and an actor. Her play Mrs. Christie had its world premiere in Dorset in 2019. As a performer, Armbruster’s credits include Broadway, Lincoln Center, and many appearances in film and television, including as the character Michelle on TVLand’s Younger.

“Students are hungry for creative outlets and excited to explore the three-dimensional possibilities of their imaginations,” Armbruster said. “The students’ plays I have encountered this year have ranged from outer space to the insides of their bedroom walls. Characters have included superheroes and recently lost grandparents. Students have found ways to bravely explore both dizzying imaginative heights and their own interior emotional depths.”

Dorset has also released the final two videos in a series of virtual classes available on-demand through the Festival’s website or official Youtube channel. 

For instructions on how to submit student work and to register for the live ceremony, visit dorsettheatrefestival.org.



Dorset Theatre Festival’s mission is to create bold, innovative, and authentic theatre that engages a diverse, multi-generational community, and economically diverse region: enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring our audience through the celebration of great plays. We aim to redefine the landscape of theatre by presenting thought-provoking productions drawn from the new and classic canon, as well as through the development of new plays, new audiences, and new artists for the future of American theater. We produce theatre that matters.



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