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Playwright Feedback from 2010


I left a short note thanking you all for an experience that I think could well be the gold-standard for the United States.  Since leaving Omaha, I have had several more thoughts to add.The conference serves as a great boost to those of us who hold drama in high estimation.  It was wonderfully fulfilling to see so many eager and talented writers, actors, and directors, working to make the conference such a success.  By making us aware of the enthusiasm brought to and excited by the conference, I am sure  the artistic morale of every participant is boosted.  That is an important contribution to the country at this difficult time in our history.

Thanks again to you and the whole contingent of theatre enthusiasts who call Omaha home. 

Jim Marlow - Playlab Playwright

I had a profoundly meaningful experience at the conference and will always return for as long as you'll have me, a westward migrating bird. I didn't really know what I was getting into but you all have really got something special going on out there. I've written and called Mac several times to thank him. For me I feel like it got me back on a track from which I had strayed. Or been pulled. I really appreciate it.

Sibyl Kempson – Performer, Teacher, Panelist, and Respondent

A week filled with great minds, brilliant classes, thrilling theater, and wonderful connections. It is one of the best experiences I've had a playwright.

Jennifer Berry – Playlab Playwright

I really feel that attending the 2010 Great Plains Theatre Conference is the best thing I've done for my career thus far. The amount of contacts and real, lasting friendships I made with other playwrights around the country couldn't have happened anywhere else. The warmth and intimacy of the conference lends itself to really getting to know the other attendees. And the staff of the conference assembled a diverse and amazingly talented group not only through the plays they selected, but the panelists who were drawn from every type of theater background. I personally found it so validating to hear ensemble based and generated theater being spoken about on the same level as the more mainstream theatrical model. Thank you guys for a mind-blowing week. It'll take me months to process everything that I learned!

Andrea Hart – Playlab Playwright

Speaking as a Mainstage playwright, I have only the highest praise for this year's conference and those who built it. From my accommodations, to the wonderful food, to the overall care and dedication of the staff, I couldn't have been better taken care of. As a playwright, pampering is rare, and I'll think back to those pretty Omaha nights sipping wine and hanging out on the porch with new friends and colleagues so fondly... Most importantly, the conference was an exceptionally healthy experience for my play. Erik Ehn blew it up and then reconstructed it for me in an alarming and profound style; I left in awe. It's a gift to be in the room with him. David could not have been more kind or generous with his time and I'll hold onto our conversations about plays and film and fighting the good fight for a lifetime. The conference vibe is just right- rigorous and summery, busy and joyful. I look forward to returning to the conference again and being a part of its continued growth and remarkable ambition. And so a heartfelt thanks...

Kevin Artigue – Mainstage Playwright

One of the best surprises of the conference for me was Sybil Kempson's workshop, "Writing on the Right Side of the Brain." I chose this workshop at the last minute, and I'm so glad I did. An exercise we did in the workshop has gotten me started on a new play that is very different in style and approach than any of the two dozen produced plays I have previously written. What a gift that workshop was, and how wonderful it was to encounter dozens of other talented writers in an atmosphere of encouragement, support and challenge to try new things! GPTC has given me renewed energy and excitement about my work. Thank you.

Jonathan Graham – Playlab Playwright

Thanks so much to you and all of your GPTC colleagues for the splendid collaboration! It was a treat to work with a group of professionals; everything went smoothly (the only glitches were mine!) and the event was a wonderful success for KANEKO. Many thanks for suggesting the partnership.

Warm Regards,


Jacqueline E. Scoones, Ph.D. Associate Director KANEKO

My son, Sam Colwell, participated in the reading for "Pigcat". After the reading, Sam (I) was contacted by a casting director from Paramount Studios in L.A. Her friend had seen the reading and recommended Sam for a part in a film she is casting. So, now it's just a wait and see if anything happens, but still very exciting for Sam.

THANKS to the conference!!

Darlene Colwell

I have met and become friends with playwrights from all over the country because of the Great Plains Theater Conference. In 2007, my room-mate at the Conference hotel was a woman from Los Angeles named Ellen Lewis. She had a play on the Main Stage that year, "Heads." She writes as E.M. Lewis, and has just won about every playwriting award there is to win for her newest play. She's also my friend, who made sure I got a staged reading at the Blank Theater in Los Angeles. We exchange emails and regularly share in the joys and sorrows of this wild life, sending plays out into the world looking for homes. This year I met and became friends with two more Main Stage playwrights, James MacLindon and Steven Bogart. Now I am in a position to help others, and I'm trying to hook Steven Bogart with the Literary Manager of the Alley Theater in Houston, a fellow I happen to know, and a fellow who likes plays just the way Steven Bogart writes them. That's what this writing life is all about; sharing stories, bucking each other up, recommending a theater or a play, being connected. I will be forever grateful that Kevin Lawler took the time to recommend my play to just about every Omaha theater person who crossed his path during the Conference. As a result, there are not one, but two Omaha theater companies interested in my work. "Only connect", says the wise poet. I will always be grateful to the Great Plains for these connections.

All Good Things,

Monica Bauer, Ph.D. – Playlab Playwright

Writing Fellow, Quinnipiac University

Well, there are few more exhilarating moments for a developing playwright than to have David Lindsey-Abaire and Constance Congdon tell you, in person, that they loved your play. This is the kind of experience that GPTC makes possible. It brings the greats into contact with the playwrights who hope to be, with work and luck, one day, great. The great playwrights GPTC attracts tend to be generous, kind and helpful, and although the criticism they offer isn’t always what you wanted to hear, it is usually exactly what you needed to hear. We have come to GPTC twice now, and have benefitted as playwrights and artists certainly, but more than that, we have benefitted as people. Kevin Lawler and his gifted team are superb, and organize GPTC with developing playwrights in mind (and in heart). We’ll be back again, to be taught and delighted. It’s what they do at GPTC.

Linda Bannister & James E. Hurd, Jr.- Evening Performance playwrights

Great Plains was a worthwhile experience. Before my play was read, I thanked my cast for doing a stellar job. After witnessing the work and energy they put forth, it didn’t matter to me what the panelists said because I heard my work the way I would have envisioned it. The Omaha talent ranks up there with the best this country has to offer. Aside from the PlayLabs, the workshops were beneficial and got my creative juices flowing. I would apply to the conference again in a heartbeat.

Erik Christian Hanson – Playlab Playwright

To my dismay, I unexpectedly had to leave the conference early for home. I want to thank you all for such a wonderful experience. Working on my play, ADVANCED WOMEN, with Judy and our cast was a delight -The rehearsal and reading gave me such valuable insight and time for reflection. What I did not expect - at least not to the extent actualized - was the whirlwind of community your conference creates. With 55 + writers, equal number of actors, directors, people passionate about what we all do - well, I should have known. But who can expect such an amazing bath of creativity? You've created an non-competitive environment - a safe place where one can share one's work - and voice deep seated opinions - a place not easily found in which so many can share. Your care for us was exceptional (as was the food - yum), your staff wonderful and responsive. It's an experience I shall not forget! All the best Michele

Michele Aldin Kushner – Playlab Playwright