30 Pages in 30 Days: A Playwriting Festival on the Seacoast

October 04, 2016

It’s okay to act it out...

That’s the theme for 30 Pages in 30 Days, A Playwright Competition, Prescott Park Arts Festival’s new community engagement event, funded in part by a New Hampshire Humanities Community Project Grant.

Sometimes the most difficult and complex issues in our society cannot be addressed through conventional conversations. Today, more than ever, people have the ability to subscribe to only those media outlets that reflect their own viewpoints. Open, respectful dialogue about a civic issue can be all but unattainable. The organizers of Prescott Park Arts Festival (PPAF) believe that playwriting and performing can help bridge the gaps of understanding. As playwright John Patrick Shanley aptly stated, “Theatre is a safe place to do unsafe things that need to be done.”

Integral to the 30 Pages in 30 Days competition are workshops designed to focus aspiring playwrights on expressing the complexity of the human experience in relation to a chosen social issue – in other words – telling both sides. To participate in the competition, writers must choose one of two pre-writing workshop dates in October. The workshops will offer participants specific methods for developing scripts from the raw material of oral or written histories, news articles, and personal stories.

Activities will include:

•  Focusing and framing a story arc

•  Finding the best dramatic style for a particular story

•  Transforming descriptive narrative into dialogue

•  Uncovering universal archetypes and metaphor in raw material

•  Incorporating the poetry of everyday language

•  Highlighting essential truths while respecting confidentiality issues.

Pre-Writing Workshop 1: October 22, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

UNH, Paul Creative Arts Center, Durham

Pre-Writing Workshop 2: October 27, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

West End Studio Theatre, Portsmouth

To register for one of the mandatory, free playwriting workshops, please visit www.30in30.brownpapertickets.com

After attending a mandatory pre-writing workshop, participants will write a one-act play during the month of November. An optional “check-in” workshop will be offered November 15 for playwrights who would like feedback from the PPAF panel at the mid-point of their writing month. Playwrights will read a sampling of their work to date and the panel will provide suggestions for improvement. Playwrights submit final versions on December 1. Three plays will be selected for a live staged-reading competition, and the winning script may be produced on the Prescott Park Arts Festival stage next summer.

David Kaye, chair of the UNH Department of Theatre and Dance, and Genevieve Aichele, founding artistic director of New Hampshire Theatre Project in Portsmouth, will facilitate the workshops. An award-winning playwright, Kaye is also the artistic director of Power Play, a professional theatre company that uses interactive theatre to engage communities, businesses, and institutions in difficult dialogues over a wide range of issues. Aichele has performed, written, directed, and taught theatre arts both nationally and internationally for forty years, including Dreaming Again: Immigration in New Hampshire, commissioned by New Hampshire Humanities in 2011, and Neighborhoods: A History of Portsmouth, winner of the 2001 Spotlight Award for Community Arts.

Contact Prescott Park Arts Festival, 436-2848 or visit www.prescottpark.org/events/30in30.

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