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Plays & Playwrights

Awards and programs for writers.

Gotanda Among Winning Writers

Philip Kan Gotanda is the winner of this year’s $7,500 Joseph Kesselring Award for his drama The Wash. Gotanda, a native Californian, was nominated for the prize by the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. He came to New York City to receive his prize and hear his play read at the National Arts Club, which administers the award.

The Kesselring prize is named for the author of Arsenic and Old Lace, who died in 1967, leaving a bequest to the NAC on condition that a fund be established to give financial aid to playwrights. T. Edward Hambleton, Marsha Norman and Carrie Nye, judges of this year’s competition, chose not to award the $1,500 runner-up prize.

Gotanda’s earlier plays include A Song for a Nisei Fisherman, Bullet Headed Birds and The Dream of Kitamura. The Wash tells what happens to an Asian-American family in California when the husband and father is drawn away by a younger, non-Asian woman.

Douglas Braverman’s romantic comedy, Snowman, about a snowed-in Staten Island couple, was the co-winner (with William Kanouse’s Chopshop) of this year’s Actors Repertory Theatre Playwrights Contest, and opened the New York theatre’s season in November. Braverman and Kanouse split the $500 first prize; in addition, both playwrights, along with six other finalists, received staged readings of their works earlier in the year. Playwrights who wish to enter their unproduced full-length plays in the theatre’s next contest should send their plays, along with a synopsis and a $15 entry fee, to Actors Repertory Theatre Playwrights Contest, 303 East 44th St., New York, NY 10017; (212) 687-6430. Deadline is Feb. 15, 1985.

Kenn Long has been awarded the $500 first prize in the American Radio Theatre’s sixth annual Radio Script Writing Competition. Long’s 30-minute radioplay Southern Mississippi Night Dream, along with the scripts of eight other finalists, will be produced as part of the radioplay anthology series A.R.T. Presents, which is aired nationwide over non-commercial stations. Writers are paid applicable Writers Guild of America minimum. Those interested in entering the next competition should obtain detailed information and an application form from American Radio Theatre, 1616 West Victory Blvd. Suite 104, Glendale, CA 91201; (213) 645-9622. Deadline is Feb. 28, 1985.

Playwrights’ Update 

Playwrights and translators who have had a play produced by a professional theatre within the past five years may apply for fellowships to the National Endowment for the Arts Theatre Program between Jan. 1 and April 10. Under this year’s new guidelines, fellowships for playwrights will range in amounts up to $17,500 for one year, or $35,000 for two years. In addition, each grantee may receive $2,500 for use in defraying costs of a residency at a professional theatre of the playwright’s choice. Fellowships for translators are for $7.500 or for $15,000, depending upon the length and scope of the project. Playwrights and translators may also receive commissioning grants from theatre companies whose applications for such funds are successful. Obtain Theater Program application guidelines from National Endowment for the Arts, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20506; (202) 682-5425.

Houston’s Alley Theatre plans to stage a “Lone Star Celebration” in 1986, the 150th anniversary of the declaration of independence of Texas from Mexico. Playwrights who are native Texans or current residents, and playwrights with scripts that deal with Texas characters, settings or ways of life, are encouraged to submit them to the theatre. Four or more of the plays will be produced, and one will be selected for a $1,000 prize. Unproduced full-length plays, one-acts and musicals are all eligible. Send scripts by March 1 to Michael Dixon, Literary Manager, Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave., Houston, TX 77002; (713) 228-9341.

A competition for a new play about “The Exile” has been announced by the Piscator Foundation and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. The winning playwright receives $1.000 and possible production at SIUC; if the play is produced, the playwright will also receive lodging and $500 toward expenses of seeing the production. Dedicated to the memory of the German epic theatre director, the contest seeks unpublished, unproduced full-length plays dealing with “persons displaced from their homeland.” Deadline is March 15. Obtain application form from Christian H. Moe, Director, 7th International Play Competition, Department of Theater, Southern Ilinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901.

New Dramatists currently operates seven writers’ studios, four of which can accommodate overnight guests. These studios are available to writers at a modest rental of $20 for a full 8-hour day or overnight stay, or dur ing the day at $4 an hour. New York writers looking for a quiet, well-equipped workplace and out-of-town writers interested in a place to stay while visiting New York City should call (212) 757-6960 to make reservations. New Dramatists is located at 424 West 44th St., between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.

La Pensee Discovery! Theater of Seattle is sponsoring two contests for full-length unproduced plays, both with awards of $300 and production. One is open to all U.S. residents, the other only to residents of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Send SASE for rules to New Plays Discovery Festival, La Pensee Discovery! Theater, Caller Service #330306, Seattle, WA 98133. Deadline is Jan. 15.

Playwrights who are natives or current residents of the Midwest and who have had a new play produced by a professional theatre in 1984 are eligible for the Society of Midland Authors $250 Annual Drama Award. To obtain guidelines and entry form, send SASE to Jane R. Howard, 851 Warrington Rd., Deerfield, IL 60015. Deadline is Feb. 28.

For information on hundreds of contests, grants, awards and other opportunities for playwrights, translators, composers, lyricists and librettists, refer to TCG’s Dramatists Sourcebook. The 1984-85 edition can be ordered for $9.95 plus postage and handling by using the order form in the back of this issue.

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