The finalists have been chosen for the Fiction at Fifty Playwriting Competition, and they include writers from across the country. Mansel Robinsonof Chapleau, Ont., Yvette Nolan of Saskatoon, Sask. and Sean Devine from Vancouver, B.C. have been selected from more than 75 entries to move onto the next level of the unique competition.
“We are looking forward to the next stage,” says Nicholas Hanson, Chair, Department of Theatre & Dramatic Arts at the University of Lethbridge. “And we were delighted that Terry Whitehead’s (BA ’94) visionary support sparked this opportunity to contribute to the Canadian theatre landscape.”
The Fiction at Fifty competition, which was open to all Canadian playwrights, emerging and established, now provides a $2,000 commissioning contract to each of the three finalists to write a full-length draft play within the next 18 months.
The selection jury, made up of University of Lethbridge faculty members along with Rachel Ditor, Literary Manager of Arts Club Theatre Company in Vancouver, says the three proposals were chosen because they tell intelligent fascinating stories that should appeal to and resonate with audiences in southern Alberta and beyond. The proposed plays have subject matter, themes and acting opportunities to excite and inspire university students. In addition, each uses a large cast and, more importantly, emphasizes the ensemble as a whole rather than one or two lead characters with many smaller supporting roles.
The jury adds that Robinson’s wry humour and lyricism promise to make his play both a moving and amusing story. With his keen interest in the current national political climate, jurors expect Devine’s voice to resonate strongly with students. The jury also notes that Nolan has an amazing ear for dialogue and that her work demonstrates a deep and generous understanding of human nature.
A second jury will evaluate the completed drafts and announce the winning play in January 2016. The winner will receive an additional $2,000 plus travel expenses to come to Lethbridge and workshop the play with U of L students, as well as royalties upon production of the play in 2017 as part of the University of Lethbridge’s 50th anniversary celebrations.