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It’s ok to act it out... That’s the theme for 30 Pages in 30 Days, A Playwright Competition. Launched in 2017, 30 Pages in 30 Days is a community engagement initiative organized by Prescott Park Arts Festival and funded for a second season by a New Hampshire Humanities Community Project Grant.
Sometimes the most difficult and complex issues in our society cannot be addressed through conventional conversations. Today, more than ever, people have the ability to subscribe to only those media outlets that reflect their own viewpoints. Open, respectful dialogue about a civic issue can be all but unattainable. The organizers of Prescott Park Arts Festival (PPAF) believe that playwriting and performing can help bridge the gaps of understanding. As playwright John Patrick Shanley aptly stated, “Theatre is a safe place to do unsafe things that need to be done.” Integral to the 30 Pages in 30 Days competition are workshops designed to focus aspiring playwrights on expressing the complexity of the human experience in relation to a chosen social issue – in other words – telling both sides.
In its first year, 29 aspiring playwrights participated in the 30 pages in 30 Days pre-writing workshops. Seventeen submitted one-act plays, three of which were selected for the live, staged-reading competition. There, fifty curious play-goers watched the staged readings, afterward plying the playwrights with questions and offering encouragement. At the end of the evening, a panel of judges chose the winner. “What really demonstrated the success of the project were the comments after each performance; some dealt with the actual process of playwriting, but many addressed the subject matter, which was the entire purpose of the project,” noted project director John Moynihan.
To participate in this year’s competition in January, writers must choose one of two pre-writing workshops to be held at UNH in December: Tuesday evening, December 12, or Saturday morning, December 16. The workshops offer specific methods for developing scripts from the raw material of oral or written histories, news articles, and personal stories. Activities will include:
• The fundamentals of playwriting • Transforming an issue into the basis for a play • Developing a workable story for a play • Transforming resource materials into dialogue • Creating compelling characters
Choose either workshop date:
An award-winning playwright, director, actor and designer, David is a Fulbright Scholar and the recipient of several awards, including the new Gland Theatre Conference Theatre Educator of the Year, UNH Outstanding Associate Professor, and Spotlight on the Arts Awards for Best Director and Best Supporting Actor. David is a graduate of the MFA professional theatre-training program at Brandeis University and has served as Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at UNH.
Nina Louise Morrison is a theatre generator: playwright, director, deviser, dramaturg, actor and teacher. She loves hearing new pages of new plays out loud for the first time, brainstorming on blackboards, and creating great reckonings in small rooms. She is a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow, Huntington Playwriting Fellow alumnus at the Huntington Theatre Company, and winner of the 2016 Boston Project commission at SpeakEasy Stage Company. She is a core member of Project: Project and Rhombus.
After attending a mandatory pre-writing workshop, participants will write a one-act play between January 2 and February 1, 2018. An optional “check-in” workshop will be offered mid-month for playwrights who would like feedback from the PPAF panel. Playwrights submit final versions on February 1. Three plays will be selected for a live staged-reading competition, and the winner takes home $500 and the opportunity to have their play performed on the Prescott Park Arts Festival stage as part of the 2018 season.
Contact Prescott Park Arts Festival, 436-2848 or visit www.prescottpark.org/30in30. To register for one of the mandatory, free, playwriting workshops, please visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3179257
New Hampshire Humanities programs are made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this these programs do not necessarily represent those of the NEH or New Hampshire Humanities.