News (Lethbridge): University of Lethbridge overwhelmed by playwriting competition response

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News (Lethbridge): University of Lethbridge overwhelmed by playwriting competition response

FictionAt50Overwhelming Response to U of L Play Writing Competition

Much to the delight of organizers, entries poured in from across the country as well as Canadians living in the United States and overseas. The call for submissions has just closed on the Fiction at Fifty competition, which was looking for a new Canadian play to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University of Lethbridge.

“As a result of a national publicity campaign, Fiction at Fifty received an astonishing 75 applications from interested playwrights,” explains drama professor Nicholas Hanson.  “We received proposals from an exciting group of artists representing both established and new voices in the Canadian theatre landscape. Submissions came from across the entire country, spanning 34 cities in eight provinces.”    

The idea for the competition came from U of L alumnus Terry Whitehead in conversation with faculty members from the U of L Theatre & Dramatic Arts Department. Whitehead has also generously financially supported the project by assisting with prize money for the three finalists and grand prize winner.

“I was overwhelmed by the response,” says Whitehead. “To the best of my knowledge, this project is unprecedented on a Canadian campus.  It’s an extraordinary testament to the reputation of the University of Lethbridge and speaks well about the health of play writing in Canada.  I don’t envy the jury; they have a tough job.”

A jury will select three proposals from the 75 submitted and each playwright will be offered a $2,000 commissioning contract to write a full-length draft of their play within 18 months. The three finalists will be announced on June 2, 2014.

At the end of the 18 month writing period, a second jury evaluates the three completed drafts and selects a winning play. The winning playwright receives an additional $2,000 plus travel expenses to attend workshops of the play at the University of Lethbridge as well as royalties when the play is produced.

“The winning play will be produced in October 2017 as part of our main season of plays and the yearlong celebration of the university’s 50th anniversary,” says Hanson.