First Annual Playwriting Competition

The University of Miami (UM) Department of Theatre Arts has announced the three finalists in its First Annual Playwriting Competition. Following another round of judging, the winning play will be showcased with a Workshop Presentation and fund-raising benefit at 6:30pm, Tuesday, April 23, at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre on the Coral Gables campus.

The three undergraduate finalists — and their nominated plays — are Sean Beloff, Misreading the Signs; William Hector, Draco; and Mona Pirnot, Practicum.

The three finalists were selected by a panel from the faculty of the Department of Theatre Arts. Their works will now be judged by a panel of professionals including Miami Herald theatre critic Christine Dolen, Pulitzer-prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, award-winning director Victor Maog, noted playwright Lucas Hnath and Edith Freni, lecturer in playwriting and play analysis at the University of Miami. The panel will announce the winner on April 1.

“I am delighted with the idea of an annual playwrights’ festival,” said Henry Fonte, chair of the department of theatre arts. “It ties in so naturally with our focus on new works. I am ever grateful to the Friends of Theatre for initiating this idea and for sponsoring our first festival. We hope to continue it into the future. Additionally, the quality of the work has been first rate! We are very proud of all the applicants.”

In addition to the Workshop Presentation, the evening will also feature a fund-raising benefit for the co-sponsor of the playwriting competition, the Friends of Theatre, a civic organization that has been supporting the Theatre Department and the Ring Theatre since 1972.

Camille King, president of the Friends of Theatre, said, “What an excellent educational opportunity for the talented playwright winner to have his/her play selected by a team of professional writers, directed by an award-winning director and presented to an audience of avid theatregoers in the Miami-Dade community!”

Tickets for the Workshop Presentation and Benefit are $50 per person and include a catered buffet, open bar and auctions of art and merchandise. Proceeds from the benefit will be used by the Friends to support scholarships for students and improvements to the Ring. To make a reservation, call Carol Newport at 305-895-2669 or visit the Ring Theatre website.

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