APN announces winners of the 45th Annual Alberta Playwriting competition

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APN announces winners of the 45th Annual Alberta Playwriting competition

Alberta Playwrights’ Network Announces the Winners of the 45th Annual Alberta Playwriting Competition

The Alberta Playwrights’ Network is pleased to announce the winners of the  2011 Alberta Playwriting Competition, the longest running provincial competition of its kind in Canada, offering the largest cash prize of any provincial playwriting competition. This year 51 entries in total were received from across Alberta.

Calgary playwright Arun Lakra received the Grand Prize Category honour for his full-length play Sequence. Mr. Lakra will receive a workshop and public reading of his play at PlayWorks Ink (November 3-6, 2011) and the $3,500 cash prize.

Sequence is a play that asks where we came from? Who are we now, and what becomes of us?  In a theatrical petri dish; sex, god, DNA, creation and Fibonacci numbers spiral together in a heady cocktail that inspires, delights and surprises with it’s witty, playful language and interplay of logic and metaphysics. Belief systems clash, ideas recombine, mutate and evolve, and order springs from chaos. Which came first- the chicken or the egg, and what dreamed them up in the first place?

Arun Lakra is a Calgary writer who masquerades as an eye surgeon. He divides his workweek between writing and practicing ophthalmology. He has written scripts, songs, and his share of illegible prescriptions. Arun aspires to teach his kids to pursue their dreams and passions, regardless of convention or expectation.  Arun hopes SEQUENCE will be even more successful than his first play, Blindspot, which has received rave reviews for balancing a wobbly table in his basement.  Currently, Arun lives in Calgary with his wife, Roopa, and two kids, Taro and Siya.

The jury had the following comments on Sequence:

·       “A challenging play of ideas with sophisticated arguments and great theatrical potential.”

·       “Terrific dialogue in a refreshingly theatrical script.”

·       “Thoughtful and funny arguments for the coexistence of religion, science, and fate.”

Calgary theatre makers, Mark C. Hopkins and Charles Netto co-wrote Super 8 and received the Discovery Prize Category honour. Super 8 will receive a workshop and public reading at Playworks Ink and the $1,500 cash prize.

SUPER 8 is both funny and sad, and this tension holds together the story of career loners Angie and Will, who meet, briefly and poignantly, at the first Super 8 in middle America on the eve of the hotel chain’s rebranding.

Charles Netto is a Calgary based director, writer, and producer. Charles is co-artistic director of Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre, a Calgary company dedicated to the creation and presentation of innovative and interdisciplinary performance. Charles is the sole author of the plays Chance Moments and Scenes from a Revolution, and has also contributed as a writer to i-Robot Theatre, Freak Show Redux, and Shhh!, as well as S-A-B shorts A World Gone Mad and Free Coffee.

Mark C. Hopkins is a Calgary-based theatre artist and community-builder. He spends his days in the offices of One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre and his nights in the creative trenches with Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre. He is the president of Calgary Young People’s Theatre, the host of regular ‘We Should Know Each Other’ parties and appeared on The Calgary Herald’s list of 20 Compelling Calgarians for 2011

The jury had the following comments on SUPER 8:

·       “The beautiful poetic and sparse language is a poignant shield against the characters’ vulnerabilities.”

·       “Sparse dialogue and intriguing theatricality makes this script the unanimous winner in the Discovery Competition.”

·       “This is a thoroughly engaging tale of two lovers.”

The jury also awarded an Honorable Mention in the Discovery Prize Category to AJ Demers for his play The Year We Fell.

The jury for the 2011 Alberta Playwriting Competition comprised a panel of established Canadian Theatre Practitioners: DD Kugler, dramaturg and theatre instructor, Vancouver; Andy Curtis, actor and One Yellow Rabbit Ensemble Member, Calgary; and Katherine Koller, playwright and instructor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. The jury works blind (without knowledge of the names of the playwrights) to select a winner in each category, plus honorable mentions as they see fit.

DD Kugler, a Vancouver-based freelance dramaturg/director in theatre and dance, was the first Canadian president of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA, 2000-02).  He served eight seasons as Production Dramaturg with Toronto’s Necessary Angel Theatre (1985-93), five seasons as Artistic Director of Edmonton’s Northern Light Theatre (1993-98), and has now taught thirteen years in the Theatre Area of the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.  Kugler adapted Marc Diamond’s Property, and (in collaboration with Richard Rose) co-authored Newhouse, as well as the adaptations of Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter, and Timothy Findley’s Not Wanted on the Voyage.

Katherine Koller lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and writes for radio, stage and screen.  Her one-act comedies have been produced across the country.  Her full-length plays include Coal Valley: the Making of a Miner, which was commissioned and produced in Drumheller in 2005 and is included in The Alberta Advantage, published by Playwrights Canada Press. The Seed Savers received its premiere at Workshop West Theatre in 2009 and was produced at Station Arts Centre in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, in 2010. Katherine teaches in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. Her website is www.katherinekoller.ca.

Andy Curtis Andy Curtis is a longtime member of the One Yellow Rabbit Theatre ensemble and has performed in numerous shows including Gilgamesh La-Z-Boy, Ilsa Queen Of The Nazi Love Camp, Thunderstruck, Five Hole (with The Rheostatics), In Kleskavania (with the Plaid Tongue Devils), Exit The King, Dream Machine, Doing Leonard Cohen and Smash Cut Freeze. Recent roles include the title role in Henry VI Part III for the Shakespeare Company, Tupolski in Ground Zero/Hit and Myth’s production of The Pillowman, numerous roles in Theatre Calgary’s Jake and the Kid, the Librarian in Shadow Theatre’s Sterling Award winning production of Underneath The Lintel and Man #2 in Vertigo Theatre’s The 39 Steps. Directing credits include Doug Curtis’s Mesa for Ghost River Theatre and Ken Cameron’s My Morocco for Ground Zero/One Yellow Rabbit.

For further information about the Alberta Playwriting Competition, Alberta Playwrights’ Network, or to arrange interview opportunities, contact the APN office at 403.269.8564, or toll-free at 1.800.268.8564.

Alberta Playwrights’ Network gratefully acknowledges the support of The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, Alberta Lottery Fund, The Calgary Arts Development Authority and The City of Calgary, The Edmonton Arts Council and The City of Edmonton, and Theatre Alberta.