Theater and Poetry Project Programs

Poetry Workshops

Available for grades 1 – 12, poetry workshops are designed to challenge students to read and write. Professional poets lead workshops either in the classroom or virtually, often times reviewing famous poetry, teaching literary techniques and how to employ them, and showing students how to edit their work.

Poetry gives teachers the opportunity to share an exciting activity with their students that may not have been available through traditional curricula. We encourage teachers to ask about our residency-style workshops or one-time writing sessions. 

Annual Poetry Contest

Each year, hundreds of Paterson students submit poems to be judged in the annual contest. Winners receive monetary prizes, their poems published in an anthology, and the opportunity to read their poems at the annual awards ceremony. 

Professional Theater Performances

We partner with professional touring companies, such as ArtsPower and Young Audiences, that feature educational and engaging shows, and provide study guides for enhances learning. 

Our live theater performances satisfy a core requirement of the NJSLS-VPA. Participating as members of the audience enables students to think beyond their horizons and develop a sense creativity. 


Contact the program coordinator Lisa Coll Nicolaou at to set up a workshop. 


Yes, you can schedule a residency if you’d like more than one workshop. 

A residency consists of three or more workshops where the teaching artists visits the same classroom over the course of several weeks. The purpose is to allow the students to build on what they’ve learned in each workshop. 

A one-time workshop is a single session designed to spark student curiosity about creative writing. 

Yes, we welcome teachers to brainstorm with us during the planning phase to ensure our programs are meeting their needs. 

Availability for teaching artists varies depending on the time of year and type of program. To find out about which writers are available, contact program coordinator Lisa Coll Nicolaou. 

Guidelines for the contest are made available every fall. To submit, teachers must do so via the Google Form available on the contest guidelines. For more detailed instructions, click here

Yes, all programs are provided at no cost to the schools. Our programs are funded by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. 

All theater shows take place in the PCCC theater. Teachers interested in attending a show with their class must fill out a reservation request form. Requests are approved on a first come first serve basis. Please note, theater performances have been on hold due to COVID-19. Please check back soon for more information on when theater performances will be available.