Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Five English Department Playwrights Selected for Kennedy Center/ACTF Regional Festival

Five Western Michigan University English Department playwrights have had their plays selected for the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival regionals being held this week in Saginaw, MI, January 5-9. The plays have been selected for readings at the festival out of over a hundred and twenty submitted from college playwrights around the region that includes Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The plays are now under consideration for the national festival to be held at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in April. KC/ACTF is a national theatre education program that includes over 200,000 students nationwide.

Kris Peterson's play "Derby Debris" was selected for the Ten Minute Play Festival. This is the second year in a row for Kris to go to the Festival. Last year Kris's play "Gun Metal Blue Bar" was one of the four ten minute play finalists that were presented at the Kennedy Center. Kris is an MFA Playwriting student.

Jason Lenz's play "Rondo Rubato" was also selected for the Ten Minute Play Festival. Jason was previously selected for the One Act Play Festival last year. Jason is an MFA Playwriting student.

Two of the six ten minute finalist are WMU English Department playwrights.

James Miranda's play "Handicapping" was selected for the One Act Play Festival. The play was first presented this summer as a staged-reading as part of WMU's New Play Project. James is an MFA Fiction student.

G. William (Bill) Zorn's play "The Speed of Falling Objects" was also selected for the One Act Play Festival. Two years ago, Bill had a play in the Ten Minute Festival. Bill was also selected to serve as a production dramaturg at the festival.

Two of the six one act finalists are WMU English Department playwrights.

Karen Wurl's play Cemetery Row was the regional winner of the full-length play contest. Karen had a one act play which was a regional winner at last year's festival. Cemetery Row was first developed last summer in the New Play Project and will be presented as a staged reading this spring at the Civic as part of the Theatre Kalamazoo!/WMU Playwriting Initiative. Karen's play is the only full-length to be read at the festival. Additionally, Karen was selected to be a production dramaturg.

These plays will be responded to by theatre professionals that this year includes Martin Kettling, Literary Manager for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference.

English Department Playwriting Professor Steve Feffer serves as Chair of the National Playwriting Program for our region of Kennedy Center/ACTF. Steve will be presenting the National Playwriting Program at the regional festival, as well as doing a workshop for playwrights, actors and faculty called "Scratch an Actor (or Vice Versa): Writing and Performing the One Person Play", based on the class Steve team-taught this past semester on the same subject.

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