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The Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival

The Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival honors new American plays that provide dynamic performance opportunities for college-aged actors.

The festival endeavors both to recognize playwrights for their outstanding work and to provide a resource for universities across the country to identify dynamic plays with robust roles for college-aged actors for production at their institutions.

The 2021 Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival will be held in person at the Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University from June 14-19.

All appropriate COVID safety protocols will be followed.

The festival will feature staged readings of the five Official Selection plays, as well as workshops and seminars on playwrighting and new play development.

At the conclusion of the festival, one play will be selected for the festival’s top prize and will receive its world premiere in the 2021-2022 Dobbins Conservatory Mainstage Season and will be considered for publication by Concord Theatricals, the world’s most significant theatrical company, comprising the catalogs of R&H Theatricals, Samuel French, Tams-Witmark, and The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection.

All festival events are free!

Register now

2021 Official Selections

headshot of Rachel Graf Evans posing in her studio area

Monday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m.

Randi & Roanne

by Rachel Graf Evans

Synopsis: Randi Beaudelaire, junior year transfer and secret poet, has a major inconvenience: she’s totally in love with her best friend Roxanne and can’t seem to stop writing sappy poetry about it. So when Kristy, the new star of the softball team, asks Randi for help on how to woo Roxanne, what’s she supposed to do? Tell the truth? A queer romantic comedy about secrets, sonnets, and softball.


headshot of kevin renn in black and white

Tuesday, June 15 at 7:00 p.m.

Jungle Juice

by Kevin Renn

Synopsis: On the eve of their college graduation, six friends gather together to celebrate with one final rager – but after the night takes a surprising turn, the group is forced to confront both their uncertain futures, and a troubling secret that looms between them.


headshot of Lilly Camp posed against a muted yellow background

Wednesday, June 16 at 7:00 p.m.

All Eight

by Lilly Camp

Synopsis: Nine freshmen women sit in one boat on their collegiate rowing team, competing with each other up for best times, lowest body weights, and most influential seats, until race day when they row as one. And rumor has it their coach is sleeping with at least one of them.


headshot of jeff talbott

Thursday, June 17 at 7:00 p.m.

Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors

by Jeff Talbott

Synopsis: Two new student groups are forming on two different campuses. Both have to write a statement saying who they are, and both are falling apart. Two stories become one story in this thorny comic drama about getting things started.


headshot of emily bohannon

Friday, June 18 at 7:00 p.m.

The Romantic Movement

by Emily Bohannon

Synopsis: Summer of 1967. High school students gather in rural Florida to study classical music in the heart of the Vietnam War and the Summer of Love. Will the college-aged Resident Assistants survive a summer of babysitting high schoolers? Does studying music even matter during a time of war?

2021 Short Play Selections

The Bee That Declared A War by Cary J. Simowitz
Don’t Toy With Me by Andrew Black
Lawncare by Paul Vintner
Remembering Morgan by Annie Brown
Rising by Gabrielle Freitas

Special Guest Speakers

headshot of hana sharif posed in front of a blurred background

Hana Sharif
Artistic Director
Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

headshot of david crespy posed in front of green leaves

David Crespy
Professor, University of Missouri
Founding Artistic Director
Missouri Playwrights Workshop

headshot of jerzy gwiazdowski

Jerzy Gwiazdowski
Managing Director
The CRY HAVOC Company, NYC

headshot of sujotta pace

Sujotta Pace
Producer of the Professional Training Company
and Casting Associate
Actors Theatre of Louisville

Schedule of Events

Register now

Monday, June 14

Time Event
11:00am-12:00noon

Festival Opening Session
Bedell Performance Hall

1:00pm-2:30pm

Twenty Minute Playwriting Challenge

Kenneth Lee Stilson, PhD

Executive Director of the Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival and Chair of the Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre & Dance, Southeast Missouri State University

Rust Flexible Theatre
3:00pm-4:30pm

The Role of the Playwright in the Rebirth of the American Theatre

Hana Sharif

Artistic Director of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Bedell Performance Hall
7:00pm-9:30pm

OFFICIAL SELECTION STAGED READING

Randi & Roxanne by Rachel Graf Evans

Directed by Kitt Lavoie

Bedell Performance Hall

Reading will be followed by a talkback with the playwright.

Tuesday, June 15

Time Event
9:00am-10:30am

Actor Workshop: Adjusting to New Pages

Kitt Lavoie

Artistic Director, Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival

Rust Flexible Theatre

10:30am-12:00noon

So You Want to Write A Musical:
Let's Start at the Very Beginning...or, Don't!

Rachel Graf Evans

Official Selection Playwright

Bedell Performance Hall

1:00pm-2:30pm

Lanford Wilson Comes Home:
The Story of the Lanford Wilson Collection

David Crespy, PhD

Founding Artistic Director of the Missouri Playwrights Workshop
and Professor of Playwrighting, Acting, Dramatic Literature and Theatre History, University of Missouri

Bedell Performance Hall

3:00pm-4:30pm

Writing What You Know, Better

Lilly Camp

Official Selection Playwright

Bedell Performance Hall

7:00pm-9:30pm

OFFICIAL SELECTION STAGED READING

Jungle Juice by Kevin Renn

Directed by Sujotta Pace

Bedell Performance Hall

Reading will be followed by a talkback with the playwright.

Wednesday, June 16

Time Event
9:00am-12:00noon

Playwrights Lab

Rust Flexible Theatre

1:00pm-2:30pm

Multi-Medium Casting

Sujotta Pace

Producer of the Professional Training Program and Casting Associate

Actors Theatre of Louisville

Bedell Performance Hall

3:00pm-4:30pm

New Play Development Jeopardy

A live theatre history gameshow.

Bedell Performance Hall

7:00pm-9:30pm

OFFICIAL SELECTION STAGED READING

All Eight by Lilly Camp

Directed by Roxanne Wellington

Bedell Performance Hall

Reading will be followed by a talkback with the playwright.

Thursday, June 17

Time Event
9:00am-10:30am

Actor Workshop: Cold Reading for New Plays

Jerzy Gwiazdowski

Managing Director, The CRY HAVOC Company

Rust Flexible Theatre

10:30am-12:00noon

What to Write About When You Don't Know What to Write About

Emily Bohannon

Official Selection Playwright

Bedell Performance Hall

1:00pm-2:30pm

Breaking the First Wall: New Rules for New Plays

Jerzy Gwiazdowski

Managing Director, The CRY HAVOC Company

Bedell Performance Hall

3:00pm-4:30pm

Things My Theatre Teacher Never Told Me

Kevin Renn

Official Selection Playwright

Bedell Performance Hall

7:00pm-9:30pm

OFFICIAL SELECTION STAGED READING

Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors by Jeff Talbott

Directed by Kenn Stilson

Bedell Performance Hall

Reading will be followed by a talkback with the playwright

Friday, June 18

Time Event
9:00am-12:00noon

Playwrights Lab

The Molecule Literary Magazine 50 Word Play Challenge

Rust Flexible Theatre

1:00pm-2:30pm

Human Behavior:
Creating It In Your Characters, Controlling It In Your Audience

Kitt Lavoie

Artistic Director of the Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival

Bedell Performance Hall

3:00pm-4:30pm

Doing Two Things at Once:
A Discussion About Simultaneity In Writing (And Life)

Jeff Talbott

Official Selection Playwright

Bedell Performance Hall

7:00pm-9:30pm

OFFICIAL SELECTION STAGED READING

The Romantic Movement by Emily Bohannon

Directed by Jerzy Gwiazdowski

Bedell Performance Hall

Reading will be followed by a talkback with the playwright.

Saturday, June 19

Time Event
3:00pm-4:30pm

OFFICAL SELECTION STAGED READINGS: SHORT PLAYS

The Bee That Declared a War by Cary J. Simowitz

Don’t Toy With Me by Andrew Black

Lawncare by Paul Vintner

Remembering Morgan by Annie Brown

Rising by Gabrielle Freitas

 

Bedell Performance Hall

6:00pm-7:30pm

Panel Discussion with Full-Length Playwrights and Closing Awards Ceremony
Bedell Performance Hall

2021 Semi-Finalists

39 Revolutions by Alex Lin

Below the Fold by Matthew Stoffel

Blue Whale Heart by Max Henry

Boner: A Symphony by Elijah Cox

The Closet Pigeon by Kwik Jones

The Divine Buoyancy of Being by Cary J. Simowitz

Earworm by Shualee Cook

Everlasting Chocolate Therapy by Steven Hayet

Fury, or the frat play by Justice Hehir

Hysterical! by Elenna Stauffer

Like a Queen or Whatever by Grant MacDermott

Little Women.....NOW by Donna Hoke

Oh Righteous God And Sinful Me by Linsey Watkins

The Scrambling Class by Amy Tofte

The Showcase by Matt Schutz

The Silver Tureen by James Armstrong

The Tower by Keyanna Khatiblou

The Velvet Ditch by Kate Leslie

The Young Ladies Of The Class Of 1902 Of Wesleyan University Present, “As You Like It” by Natalie Sacks

Way Down Here by Emily Garrison

Mission Statement

The Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival identifies and supports new plays that feature robust roles for college-aged actors, while providing a laboratory to train students in the skills and ethics inherent to work with living playwrights on new works.

The festival accepts submissions of full length plays from playwrights nationwide and one-act plays from residents of the state of Missouri and/or students enrolled at universities in Missouri.

Contact Us

For additional information, please contact Kitt Lavoie, Artistic Director, and lanfordwilsonfest@semo.edu

Contact

Sara Steffens
573.651.2149
ssteffens@semo.edu
River Campus Seminary 454

Conservatory of Theatre and Dance
One University Plaza, MS 7850
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701