Writers' showcase

New Voice Play Festival whittles more than 100 entries to four winners

New Voice Play Festival whittles more than 100 entries to four winners

June 23, 2005|by KRISTIN WILSON

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The theater lineup this weekend at the Old Opera House Theatre will include a look at the end of time, "dead" Shakespeare characters and three generations of Russian-American women.

It is the fifth annual New Voice Play Festival, kicking off Friday, June 24.

"We have four plays that you can see all at one time for one price," says Steven Brewer, manager and artistic director for the Old Opera House Theater Co. "You get to see something that is brand new that has never been performed before."

The New Voice Festival accepts plays from playwrights across the country. There are few rules associated with the contest, only that works submitted were never before performed or published.


The festival "is an interesting opportunity to get some new ideas, playwright concepts and energy onto our stage," Brewer says. "You never know; it's like a box of chocolates."

In fact, festival organizers and judges were surprised by the playwright response to their fifth event. Last year the competition drew 26 plays. This year there were more than 100 submissions from all over the country. Playwrights, who competed for four award-winning slots, ran the gamut from first-time, high-school-age playwrights to amateur writers who have racked up several other festival awards, Brewer says.

First-place winner Thomas Pierce of Seattle says the national playwriting circles are smaller than one would imagine and word spreads quickly when a playwriting festival emerges on the scene.

"The Internet has just become the most marvelous tool for writers," he says. "It is so easy to find what's out there."

The New Voice Play Festival will showcase the first- and second-place one-act plays fully-staged for audiences. There also will be dramatic readings of the scripts of the two third-place winners.

If you go ...

WHAT: The Old Opera House Theatre New Voice Play Festival

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 26

WHERE: Old Opera House Theatre, 204 N. George Street, Charles Town, W.Va.

COST: $10 for adults, $7 for students, $5 for children younger than 12.

DIRECTIONS: Take alternate U.S. 40 to Md. 67. Merge onto U.S. 340 west toward Charles Town. Turn right onto North George Street.

CONTACT: For more information call 888-900-SHOW or 304-725-4420 or go to on the Web.

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