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May 14

May 14, 2019


Derek Rayment
Public + Media Relations Manager
531-MCC-2876, office
402-960-0697, cell

14th annual Great Plains Theatre Conference kicks off May 26 with free readings, evening PlayFest productions

OMAHA, Neb. — Metropolitan Community College is pleased to announce the 14th annual Great Plains Theatre Conference, May 26-June 1. PlayFest is free and open to the public, daily activities include PlayLab readings, luncheon panel discussions, workshops and evening PlayFest performances.

Twenty plays were selected from more than 800 submissions from around the world and will be performed in staged readings by local and national directors and actors. Playwrights receive feedback about their work from theatre scholars, directors, master playwrights and the public in a guided-response setting. All readings are held at MCC’s Fort Omaha Campus, 32nd and Sorensen Parkway.

Luncheon panel discussions

Throughout the conference featured artists and theatre scholars share their expertise with an audience of actors, directors, technicians and the general public during luncheon panels. Lunch for general public may be purchased onsite.

Design & Wing

During the conference, Design Wing coordinator Pei-Wen Huang-Shea leads five emerging design artists from across the country in an exploration of the creative process. Guided by Huang-Shea, each designer is assigned to work with a playwright. The designers spend seven days in Omaha immersed in GPTC events, workshops and readings, as well as intense script analysis and close collaboration with their assigned playwright.

Theatre Workshops

One of the most popular and compelling aspects of the conference is the opportunity to attend the Theatre Workshop series offered by visiting artists. Attendees can choose from a variety of special interest offerings including movement, writing, and acting. All theatre workshops are free and open to the public.


PlayFest is a community performance festival held on selected evenings during the Conference in various locations across the Metro. The goal of PlayFest is to paint a diverse and vibrant portrait of the city, create a chance for friends and neighbors to interact, and be a catalyst for a dialogue within the community about the stories that affect our lives. PlayFest is free and open to the public.

Free Filmmaker Screening: The Rest I Make Up

Directed by Michelle Memran
May 28, 7 p.m.
Film Streams Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St.

Presented in Partnership with FilmStreams with a post-show question and answer session with director Michelle Memran and producer Katie Pearl.

Sidelined by dementia, Maria Irene Fornes formed an unexpected friendship with filmmaker Michelle Memran, triggering a decade-long collaboration that reignited her creative spirit. In The Rest I Make Up, Fornes and Memran explore the playwright’s remembered past and their shared present. What began as an accidental collaboration becomes a story of love, creativity, and connection that persists even in the face of forgetting.

EPICPart of GPTC’s Neighborhood Tapestries project by Ellen Struve
Directed by Michael John Garcés

GPTC PlayLab Playwrights and Guest Artists will attend the performance on Thursday, May 30.

May 29, 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Metropolitan Community College/South Omaha Campus ITC 120, 2909 Edward Babe Gomez Dr.

A world premiere play written by local, award winning playwright Ellen Struve, and developed from ongoing story circles within the South Omaha community. Nationally-renowned director and leader in developing community-driven plays, Michael John Garcés will direct. The play has a focus on, and collaboration with, the Mayan immigrant population in partnership with Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim, the Popol Vuh creation story, the Abstract Mindz artist collective and the South Omaha Mural Project. A multi-generational story, it includes shadow puppetry, music and pageantry.

The Blues of Knowing Why by Christopher Maly
Directed by Denise Chapman
The Union for Contemporary Art, 2423 N. 24th St.

Presented in Partnership with the Union for Contemporary Art

A special performance for GPTC PlayLab Playwrights and Guest Artists will be on Wednesday, May 29, 7:30 p.m.

Opening night – May 31 7 p.m.; Additional public performances June 6 – 9, 13- 16 and 20 – 24

On June 26th, 1969, 14-year-old Vivian Strong was killed by an Omaha Police officer. Her death divided a community and created a fracture that has never been resolved. In The Blues of Knowing Why, playwright Christopher Maly conducted interviews with friends and family of Vivian Strong, members of the media, and members of social resistance organizations to provide a community’s account of Vivian’s short life and the timeless magnitude of her death.

Special Performance Honoring Maria Irene Fornes Directed by Mary Beth Easley

June 1, 7:30 p.m.
Swanson Conference Center, Fort Omaha Campus of Metropolitan Community College, 32nd and Sorensen Parkway

For more information on GPTC events, plays, playwrights and participants, visit the conference website at

About the Great Plains Theatre Conference

GPTC’s mission is to enable playwrights and theatre artists to share time, energy and talent in the service of developing craft, creating new work and strengthening community on a local and national scale. Through the Conference, playwrights connect with guest artists and one another in a supporting and encouraging environment and critique one another’s work, develop work together and form future creative alliances. All daytime Conference readings are free and open to the public. PlayFest, GPTC’s evening theatre festival for the community is also free and open to the public and is held in various locations throughout Omaha during the conference week.

The conference is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment and Humanities Nebraska.

Additional links:
Twitter @gptcnebraska

Contact information:


Metropolitan Community College, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is a comprehensive, public community college that offers affordable, quality education to all residents of Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties. Founded in 1974, MCC has the largest enrollment out of six community colleges in Nebraska and is the second largest post-secondary institution in the state. MCC serves more than 40,000 unique credit and noncredit students.