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Jewish Playwriting Contest Comes To Burlington

A Vermont theater organization will help determine the winner of an international play-writing competition, drawn from more than 200 submitted works.

The Jewish Plays Project is holding its 4th annual contest, and is collaborating with Burlington's Theatre Kavanah to come up with a winner, and the competition is now down to 3 scripts, all of which will have portions read live this Sunday and Monday at Temple Sinai in South Burlington. The audience will vote for their favorite plays by texting and seeing the results tally in real time.

This is billed as an international Jewish playwriting competition, and David Winitsky, the director of the Jewish Plays Project says 75 to 80 percent of the writers are Jewish, but it's not a requirement. "My contention is we're not about Jewish numbers, we're about the Jewish conversation. We want to talk about ideas in Jewish life in the 21st century and that anyone can have a Jewish conversation." For Winitsky, that means conversations about economic justice, social justice and diversity, inclusion and new approaches to peace.

There are five cities involved in determining this year's winner including New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Burlington. It's the second year the project has come to Burlington. Winitsky credits the effort and enthusiasm of Theatre Kavanah's Wendi Stein and Sharon Panitch for the program's return. The three plays that will be presented in Burlington are about navigating culture clashes.

After a winning play is chosen, the author will go through a two-week workshop at the Open Festival of Jewish Theater in New York before being presented to industry audiences with the hope that it will be produced in future seasons. The Jewish Plays Project has produced 23 plays and 11 have gone on to production in New York, Tel Aviv and other cities around the country.

You can learn more about this weekend's events here.