MFA Playwriting Student Organizes New Theatre Event
Ten plays, ten minutes each by established and emerging playwrights
Organized by Kendra Phillips, a Master of Fine Arts candidate in playwriting in the University of Idaho’s Department of Theatre Arts, the “NorthNorthwest” event will showcase ten new 10-minute works by professional playwrights and college students from across the United States.
Internship Leads to Opportunity
Phillips, a second-year student from Seattle, was the literary intern at Seattle-based NPA when she learned about the NorthNorthwest program and discovered the once robust event, previously a collaboration between NPA and Western Washington University, was dormant.
Phillips jumped on the chance to bring the project to the Palouse.
“I thought it would be a good link between the university and NPA,” Phillips said. “I wanted to bring extra playwriting opportunities to this school.”
Last fall, Phillips approached Ann Hoste, former chair of the Department Theatre Arts, to serve as faculty advisor for the project and to ensure the event had the support it needed to succeed.
“This was Kendra’s idea, her vision,” Hoste said. She collaborated with NPA, coordinated all aspects of the project, and raised funds to send University of Idaho student actors to Seattle Repertory Theatre. It’s a significant regional accomplishment for U of I and everyone involved--and Kendra is at the heart of it all.”
Established and Emerging Playwrights
A call for scripts quickly resulted in more than 200 entries.
“Scripts came from very established playwrights and from emerging playwrights and from all levels of experience and all over the U.S. with most from the Puget Sound area,” Phillips said.
Nineteen students from the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences joined NPA artists to read the submissions and recommend scripts for further consideration.
A Diverse Collection of Short Plays
Phillips and NPA co-founder and playwright-in-residence Bryan Willis made the final selection, assembling a diverse collection of short works on topics ranging from relationship anxiety, grief and revenge to modern communication and student woes.
“There are some very interesting plays,” Phillips said. “All of them are very unique.”
A cast of five U of I Theatre Arts students – Eli Baker, Emma Blonda, Kaytlyn Harris, Ella Jacoby and Blake Presnell – will perform the staged readings directed by CLASS instructor and 2010 U of I MFA directing alumnus David Harlan.
Seattle and Moscow Performances
The cast will perform for a Seattle audience at 7 p.m. on Oct. 28 at Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer Street, Seattle, Washington. Donations will be accepted at the door.
At 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 and 2, the group will perform staged readings of the plays at the Pocket Playhouse in Shoup Hall, 1028 West 6th Street, Moscow. Admission is free, but seating is very limited. Tickets will be available at the door 30 minutes before curtain.
Anthologies of the scripts will be available at all performances to purchase. Because some of the plays contain adult content and language, this event is best suited for mature audiences.
This project was supported in part by funding from the Erma M. Scholtz Coppage and Richard P. Coppage Endowment.
By Kelly O'Neill, Department of Theatre Arts
Published October 2019
Moscow Showtimes and Dates
7:30 p.m. Nov. 1, 2
1028 West 6th Street, Moscow (Shoup Hall)
Available at the door 30 minutes before curtain
Parking is free on the street and in the lot across the street from Shoup Hall.