Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Heartland Theatre Is Looking for "New Plays from the Heartland"

Are you a playwright plying your trade in the Midwest? Have you written a one-act that involves summertime and the Heartland?

Heartland Theatre's New Plays from the Heartland contest is accepting entries through May 1. This contest is for one-acts, 15 to 35 minutes in length, written by Midwest writers. Anyone who lives in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio or Wisconsin is eligible. Subject matter and setting of the play are up to the playwright, as long as there is some relation to this year's theme, which is "Summer in the Heartland." Since the three winning plays will be produced at Heartland Theatre in Normal in July, "Summer in the Heartland" ought to be a natural fit.

In conjunction with the production of the plays, Heartland will also offer a playwriting workshop with a nationally known playwright offering insights and guidance for the three winning playwrights. In the past, Wisconsin's Richard Kalinoski ("Beast on the Moon"), Minnesota's Phil Olson ("Don't Hug Me") and Ohio/Illinois hybrid Ben Viccellio ("House of Judgment") have conducted this master class.

Here's how Heartland Theatre describes what they're looking for:

"If you live in a Midwestern city, summertime may mean opening up a fire hydrant to beat the heat or a raucous street fair that lasts well into the night. If you live in the suburbs or a small town in the Midwest, summertime may mean the annual Miss Heart of the Heartland Pageant, cutthroat golf at the country club, or corn that’s as high as an elephant’s eye. Fireworks, parades, vacations, summer jobs, weddings, picnics, trying to find a patch of shade, competition for the best lawn, a cool Margarita on a hot patio, the most beautiful sunset in the history of the universe, air conditioners on the fritz, hot dogs, the siren’s song of the ice cream truck, a garden overflowing with zucchini, sunburn, fireflies, frying an egg on the sidewalk, sending the kids off to camp, struggling to get to a beach or a pool or to fit into your swimsuit…

All we need is a one-act play that speaks to that Midwest summertime experience, when the temperatures rise, things get lazy and crazy at the same time, and kids and adults alike yearn to enjoy every bit of summer before the first chill of fall."

Details, rules and guidelines are here. Plays can be entered directly from the website, through the form linked on the rules page. Do yourself a favor and read the rules, making sure your entry fits, before sending it in. This contest is funded by Paul and Sandra Harmon and the NPH Sponsors Circle.

And one last note: This contest offers an honorarium of $150 to each of the three winning playwrights to facilitate travel to Normal to participate in the workshop and see the staged reading of his or her play.

For more information, you can call Heartland's Box Office at 309-452-8709 or email newplays@heartlandtheatre.org

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