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Kean Stage
Kean University

Adam Immerwahr, Liz Wisan, and John Wooten in rehearsal for Premiere Stages 2011 production of Hannah by John Wooten, directed by Adam Immwerwahr

"Without organizations like Premiere Stages, new playwrights who bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the art form would rarely have their work see the light of day - much less get an opportunity to have fully staged, Equity productions…We often cite the partnership between Premiere Stages and Kean University as a model of the ways in which a university and a professional theatre can work together to the benefit of all."
- Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation


Premiere Stages is committed to serving the cultural needs of northern and central New Jersey through the development and production of high-quality Equity theatre premieres, professional development and educational initiatives for the local and campus communities, and the support and cultivation of emerging playwrights and theatre artists.

As a professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, Premiere Stages actively engages and enhances the specialized training programs at Kean, while embracing and serving a culturally diverse audience, underserved local youth, and a broad pool of gifted regionally-based artists.


Created in 2004, Premiere Stages is the professional equity theatre company in residence at Kean University. Through our unique partnership with Kean, our productions, play development programs, and educational initiatives actively embrace the university's academic curriculum while expanding the scope, accessibility and prestige of the professional programming on campus.

Through the Premiere Play Festival, Premiere Stages has developed many new plays that have gone on to have successful productions in New York and regional theaters throughout the country. Some of the writers whose work we have developed include Dominique Morisseau, Kathryn Grant, Willy Holtzman, Tammy Ryan, George Brant, David Caudle, Hal Corley, and Michael Hollinger. Premiere Stages has also produced many critically acclaimed New Jersey Premieres, bringing exciting contemporary plays to our local audiences in Union County.

Throughout each summer, Premiere Stages produces two main stage plays, one of which is always an original work that has never before been produced. Each June, Premiere Stages also produces a staged reading of a new play, and invites the audience into the development process through discussions and feedback sessions with the cast and playwright. As we program our season, the Premiere Stages Staff searches for plays that tell compelling stories and address contemporary issues, even when they're set in the distant past.

Premiere Stages' education program, The Premiere Play Factory, has introduced theatre to thousands of children across New Jersey, particularly those children in underserved and underfunded school systems. Through our School Time Residencies and Camp Premiere Summer program, we introduce students to the craft of playwriting with an eye towards increasing literacy, supporting English language learners, modeling the collaborative process, and encouraging self-expression.

Through our partnership with the Kean University Theatre Department, our Premiere Artists program has provided Kean University students with professional training, credits toward AEA union affiliation, paid positions as actors, assistants, and interns on Equity productions. By offering the opportunity to work with a professional company, we hope to give Kean students a leg up in preparing for a career in the arts.

As Premiere Stages looks to the future, we plan to continue our work developing and producing new plays, searching out talented emerging playwrights, and introducing students to the art of playwriting. We also hope to expand our work to include the development of original plays for young audiences, and to enlarge our network of partners, collaborators, and affiliated artists.