A Few Responses From The 2009 Great Plains Theatre Conference
At Metropolitan Community College
Dear Great Plains Theater Conference Staff, One and All!
Just a quick email to offer our most sincere gratitude for all the terrific experiences we had as playwrights, audience members and pilgrims at the shrine (of the magnificent Theater Community you have in Omaha)! We had enormous fun, learned a lot as writers, made great friends and witnessed real art. Thanks so very much for all your support and kind words for our play (Turpentine Jake). We hope one day it will see a full production on an Omaha stage; that would be glorious!
We hope to return to Omaha for GPTC again and again; we were welcomed and enriched throughout the week and could not have enjoyed ourselves more.
With all best wishes, and sincere thanks,
Linda Bannister and James E. Hurd, Jr.
Dr. Linda Bannister
Professor of English
Daum Professor of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts
Director, Journalism Certificate Program
Director, Secondary Teacher Preparation Program in English (STPP in English)
Loyola Marymount University
Thank you both so much for giving me the opportunity to be a respondent this week. I've had a great time and have met so many generous and supportive people. I would be happy to come back again if you'd like to have me.
Your hard work and commitment to this conference are amazing and valuable beyond words. Thank you again. This week reminded me why I want to be a dramaturg.
Jessica Dart, Freelance Dramaturg
My first substantial play, Mrs. Jennings’Sitter, was chosen as a feature selection. It was greeted with incredible enthusiasm. Tony-award winning director Marshall Mason encouraged me to submit nationally and I secured a local production. This year, the companion piece for that play, which was conceived during workshops at the Great Plains Theatre Conference, was also selected to be part of the conference. That play, Mountain Lion, was also very well received. Companies in Colorado, Alaska and New York have asked me to send scripts.
Playwright and two-time conference attendee, Ellen Struve
Thank you so much for the most incredible ten days of indulging my passion -- theatre -- without guilt. It is so rare that theatre folks from all over the country can get together to share their ideas and see dozens of plays in various stages of development skillfully directed with quality actors playing the parts. I look forward to this Omaha happening all year long and am never disappointed. The good will, supportive atmosphere, and networking possibilities are not to be matched. You've got a runaway, smash hit on your hands -- one that will only improve with age.
Professor of English
University of Mississippi
My ten-minute play, THE CRUCIFIXION OF MOE AND IRA, which was given a reading during the 2006 Great Plains Theatre Conference, is being produced three times this summer with another production slated for the fall. This means the play will have been produced a total of fourteen times either as a staged reading or fully mounted production. It was the winner of the 2008 Snowdance Play Festival in Racine, Wisconsin, and it has been produced in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and numerous places in between.
In the last four years I've had readings at playwriting festivals all over the country (including the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, The Orlando Shakespeare Festival and the Playwright's Showcase of the Western Region) and I must say yours was a delight. The actors assigned to my reading were perfectly cast and of the highest quality and the director was a total pro. I had no idea the talent pool in Omaha was so deep. I've had over one hundred productions now and dozens of readings. Most of the time, if I get one good idea from a post-show note session I consider it a success. After your reading the respondents gave me half a dozen good ideas. I found myself running back to the hotel to rewrite. Too often the competitive nature of theatre dominates conferences. Yours on the other hand was full of professionals that only wanted to advance the art. I arrived in Omaha a stranger and within a few hours had been invited to several events and made friends. It was a breath of fresh air.
Once again, thank you for a wonderful conference.
William Missouri Downs
Head of Playwriting
University of Wyoming