By Bobinec, Greg on March 16, 2020.
Playwriting in Canada continues to grow and explore new ideas, as three new budding playwrights were announced as the 2020 uLethbridge Play Right Prize recipients.
Since 2007, alumnus Terry Whitehead has supported University of Lethbridge students with an interest in playwriting through the Play Right Prize Awards, a total of $2,500 in scholarships and a public reading of the winning play. The awards are co-ordinated by drama faculty member Mia van Leeuwen, and this year’s jury was made up of Drama faculty Justin Blum, English faculty Heather Ladd and Trevor Rueger, Executive Director of the Alberta Playwright’s Network.
“This was my first year co-ordinating the Play Right Prize submissions and I was thrilled to see how many students got involved,” says van Leeuwen. “This is a great opportunity to spark and support emerging talent. The Drama Department is thankful to Terry Whitehead and his continued support.”
This year’s first prize author and winner of $1,500, is second-year drama student Quinn Larder for his play ‘The Murder.’ The play creates a refreshingly off-kilter theatrical world that cleverly asks us to question who and what a person is, and how and why we value things. The jury was particularly impressed by the creative use of language and how the characters still have satisfyingly dramatic journeys.
Second place and the winner of $750 went to Paul Vanhoutteghem for his play ‘Askopos,’ which channels the finely wrought tedium of Theatre of the Absurd. This play stages the eternal punishments of the classical Greek Underworld and the jury appreciated its intellectual sophistication.
Third place and $250 award went to Jake Rose for his play ‘Vargamor’ in which three characters at the edge of their known world struggle with the sins of their past and finally come face-to-face with them. The jury commented that it was well-crafted and imaginative. This is Rose’s second Play Right Prize, having placed third in 2018 for his play ‘Glorious Clockwork.’
Over the past 13 years, 35 uLethbridge students have received financial support through the Play Right Prize, with many recipients going on to successful careers in playwriting and theatre production. Audiences will have the first chance to hear Larder’s winning play, The Murder, at the Play Right Prize Gala & Cabaret on Thursday, March 26 at 5 p.m. in the David Spinks Theatre. The event is free to attend, open to the public and will include the play reading as well as a cabaret-style performances by graduating students and faculty.
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