BSC Theatre’s ND Ten-Minute Playwriting Competition receives more than 500 submissions
To give the students in his directing class a better understanding of all that goes into producing a play, Bismarck State College Assistant Professor of Theatre, Danny Devlin, Ph.D., applied for a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to create the ND Ten Minute Playwriting Competition. He was awarded the grant and said he hoped for 150 play submissions for the theme, “What Happened to the American Dream.” Instead, he received more than 500 from playwrights across the United States.
Throughout the fall semester, Devlin read through all of them. After narrowing them down largely based on whether or not they met the submission criteria and aligned with the theme, he shared them with a select group of 12 readers, including the directing students, who chose the winners. “A rigorous reading process has led us to six diverse and interesting scripts,” said Devlin. “These were the plays that enflamed the imagination and passions of our students the most profoundly.”
The winning plays were written by playwrights in California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Devlin said all of them have been very generous in offering their time to his students. “It’s going to provide them with a lot of really interesting opportunities both to take on responsibility as an artist, but also to collaborate with someone else in the artistic process, which we so rarely get to do in theatre.”
Devlin said he’s grateful for the NEH grant that allowed him to create this playwriting competition. “The opportunity to conduct research in innovative, educational delivery methods is of the highest value for professors at this school. We’re always looking for ways to innovate and keep the classroom up-to-date.”
The plays that were chosen will be performed at the Short Play Festival 2019 at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. May 1 and 2 at BSC’s Sidney J. Lee Auditorium. The festival is put on by Bismarck State College Theatre and the BSC Drama Club, in collaboration with the Humanities North Dakota, as part of the HumanitiesND year-long "Game Changer Ideas Festival,” and with the North Dakota Council on the Arts.
Admission is free, but seating is limited. For more information, visit bismarckstate.edu and search “Theatre events” or check out the Facebook event titled, “Short Play Festival 2019: What Happened to the American Dream?” by Bismarck State College Theatre.