For Immediate Release
Contact: Theresa M. MacNaughton,
Office: 860-520-7114

Education @ Hartford Stage Accepting Entries for Annual Write On Young Playwrights’ Competition

New Haven playwright/hip-hop poet Aaron Jafferis will serve as writing mentor

Hartford, CT, January 28, 2019 – Education @ Hartford Stage is currently accepting entries for its annual Write On Young Playwrights’ Competition through Monday, February 4. The program is open to all Connecticut students in grades 9 through 12. From among all entries received, 5 to 6 students will be selected to participate. New Haven-based playwright and hip-hop poet Aaron Jafferis will serve as this year’s writing mentor.

Write On is modeled on Hartford Stage’s new play development process and provides participants with the unique opportunity of learning about professional play development first-hand. Jafferis will guide students through a series of intensive writing workshops held at Hartford Stage. Students will then develop submitted ideas into their own 10-minute plays, which will culminate with readings staged by local actors and directors on Monday, March 25.  

Write On entries may be submitted directly online at  A downloadable application may also be printed and mailed to Krista DeVellis, Education Associate, Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford, Connecticut, 06103. For more information about Write On, contact DeVellis at (860) 520-7264 or  

About Aaron Jafferis

Aaron Jafferis and composer Byron Au Yong’s musical Stuck Elevator premiered at the American Conservatory Theatre, where it was named “high point of the theatrical year” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Their oratorio Trigger, aka (Be)longing, premiered at the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech as part of the 10-year memorial of the Virginia Tech shooting. The duo’s current project, Activist Songbook, commissioned by the Asian Arts Initiative, will create a collection of songs and raps on activism. Jafferis’s other works include How to Break – a hip-hop musical based on Jafferis’s experiences while writer-in-residence at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital; Kingdom – a hip-hop/rock musical about the Latin Kings, which premiered at The Old Globe; and Shakespeare: The Remix, a musical about a high school rapper battling the ghost of William Shakespeare. Jafferis also worked with Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services and dozens of refugees worldwide to create the play Stories of a New America, which premiered on World Refugee Day at Yale University and toured with Collective Consciousness Theatre.

A former Open Rap Slam champion at the National Poetry Slam Championships, Jafferis is the founding Artistic Director of The Word – a spoken word poetry education program in New Haven – and teaches hip-hop theatre for change in schools, colleges, and organizations nationwide. His work has been recognized nationally with the Creative Capital Award, Richard Rodgers Award, Sundance Institute/Time Warner Fellowship, NEA Art Works Grant, NEFA National Theatre Project Grant, Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, Barbour Playwright’s Award, NYMF Most Promising New Musical Award, and multiple MacDowell Fellowships.

Write On
Aaron Jafferis

Aaron Jafferis


Now in our 55th season, Hartford Stage is currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak. In January 2019, Melia Bensussen was named the sixth Artistic Director of Hartford Stage and will assume the role in June. One of the nation’s leading resident theatres, Hartford Stage is known for producing innovative revivals of classics and provocative new plays and musicals, including 73 world and American premieres, as well as offering a distinguished education program, which reaches close to 21,000 students annually.

Since Tresnjak’s appointment in 2011 the theatre has presented the world premieres of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical by Tresnjak; Rear Window with Kevin Bacon; the new musical Anastasia by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens; Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; and Reverberation by Matthew Lopez.

Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1989 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Other national honors include Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, OBIE, and New York Critics Circle awards. Hartford Stage has produced nationally renowned titles, including the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans' Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger's Children; and Tea at Five.

The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Hartford Stage’s offerings include student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses.    

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