Read More UMBC News Blog Stories

February 8, 2008

UMBC Presents IN10 Theatre Festival and National Play Competition

Four Short Plays Presented Each Evening, Including the Premieres of New Works by Naomi Wallace and Tina Howe

March 5 - 9, 2008
UMBC Theatre

Contact: Thomas Moore
Director of Arts & Culture

Note: You may view or download this release as a pdf file.

The UMBC Department of Theatre presents the IN10 Theatre Festival and National Play Competition, March 5-9 at the UMBC Theatre. Each evening, theatergoers will enjoy four short plays, including the premiere of new commissioned works by renowned playwrights Naomi Wallace and Tina Howe.

Inaugurated in 2006, the annual IN10 National Play Competition seeks to address the scarcity of strong roles for young women in contemporary American plays. By creating a national competition for 10-minute long plays that feature solid acting opportunities for young actresses, the UMBC Department of Theatre hopes to help commence a new era in contemporary American playwrighting. The national winner is awarded a $1,000 cash prize and performances at the Festival. Additionally, each year the IN10 Festival and National Play Competition commissions new works by noted American playwrights.

The winner of the 2008 IN10 Competition is Francesca Sanders, whose work, The Rudy, will be staged along with the work of another finalist, Markers by Shirley King. Directors will include Alan Kreizenbeck, Xerxes Mehta, Lynn Watson and IN10 founder Susan McCully.

The complete program for each evening will feature:

-- A Duet for Water by Naomi Wallace, directed by Xerxes Mehta
One woman's longing for peace crashes against her need to relive the ecstatic in Wallace's solemn, subtle and poetic play.

-- Milk & Water by Tina Howe, directed by Lynn Watson
A post-partum water aerobics class erupts as five young women struggle to get their bodies and lost identities back into shape. Howe's wild comedy evokes a silly collision of The Women meets Esther Williams.

-- The Rudy by Francesca Sanders, directed by Alan Kreizenbeck
A young actress's musical audition turns dance macabre in this darkly delightful, Durangian farce.

-- Markers by Shirley King, directed by Susan McCully
Two sisters strive to keep a mother's sacred promise, but when the prescribed date, September 12, 2001, arrives, burying a pet's ashes becomes both monumental and meaningless.

About the Playwrights

Naomi Wallace is a poet and playwright from Prospect, Kentucky. Wallace was a 1999 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, the grant popularly known as the genius award. Her plays include: In The Heart of America, One Flea Spare, Slaughter City, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, The Girl Who Fell Through a Hole in Her Jumper (with Bruce McLeod), The War Boys, Things of Dry Hours, Birdy (an adaptation of William Wharton's novel), and The Fever Chart: three short visions of the Middle East. Her plays are published by Faber and Faber in London, and Theater Communications Group and Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. in the United States.

Wallace obtained her Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College and did graduate studies at the University of Iowa. Wallace's work has been produced in both the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. Her work has received the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Kesselring Prize, the Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award and an Obie. She is a dedicated advocate for justice, human rights, and Palestinian rights in the Middle East. Her award-winning film Lawn Dogs is available on DVD. Her film, The War Boys, co-written with Bruce McLeod, will be available in 2008.

Tina Howe's respected career has garnered her two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize in drama, a Tony nomination and numerous other accolades. Howe's works are renowned for use of lyrical language that discovers drama in the most unlikely of places. Her plays contemplate the span of emotions, from romance and death, to family, art, and the very essence of life. Howe earned nominations for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1984 for Painting Churches--about the decline of an old-money family--and in 1997 for Pride's Crossing, concerning an elderly woman looking on her past. Coastal Disturbances, starring Annette Benning and Timothy Daly on Broadway, garnered her a Tony nomination for Best Play in 1988. Additional works by Howe include The Nest, Birth and after Birth, Museum, The Art of Dining, Approaching Zanzibar, One Shoe Off, and Rembrandt's Gift. These and other works have premiered at the Los Angeles Actors Theatre, the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Kennedy Center, the Old Globe Theatre, Lincoln Center Theatre, and The Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Among her many awards are an Obie for distinguished playwriting, an Outer Circle Critics Award, a Rockefeller grant, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Guggenheim fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, an American Theatre Wing Award, the Sidney Kingsley Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and two honorary degrees. Howe has been a visiting professor at Hunter College since 1990, has taught master classes at NYU, UCLA, Columbia, and Carnegie Mellon and has served on the council of the Dramatists Guild since 1990.

Francesca Sanders, IN10 Competition Winner, is an award-winning playwright who hails from Portland, Oregon. Since she began writing in 2000, she has been the recipient of The Oregon Literary Fellowship for Drama, the Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for Theatrical Excellence, a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Playwriting Grant, a Women's Work Residency at New Perspectives Theatre, New York, and commissions from Portland Center Stage and Integrity Productions. She has also been selected to participate in the Seven Devil's Playwriting Conference.

Sanders has been a finalist for the Rosenthal New Play Prize, Seattle Rep's New Work Festival, Ojai Playwriting Festival, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, JAW (just add water/West,) New Harmony Project, Play Labs (Playwright's Center Minneapolis) and has had readings or productions from Bangalore, India to North Dakota.

"The juggling that Sanders does with reality and illusion is deft and skillful. A terrific piece of theatrical writing...A captivating new play."

"A very talented playwright" --The Oregonian

Shirley King, IN10 Finalist, is an award winning playwright who lives in Benicia, California. Her first play won a 2001 California Arts Council competition for best new play. Others works have been staged by Chicago Women's Theater Alliance, Radiant Theatre, Penobscot Theatre, Big Idea Theatre, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Ashland Short Play Festival, SlamBoston, University of North Dakota, Stockyards Theatre Project, Asphalt Jungle Shorts, and Short Leaps Festival, Eureka Theatre, San Francisco.

Wednesday, March 5, 8 pm (preview)
Thursday, March 6, 4 pm (free admission to UMBC campus community)
Friday, March 7, 8 pm (opening night)
Saturday, March 8, 8 pm (talkback following performance)
Sunday, March 9, 4 pm

$10 general admission; $5 students and seniors; $3 for the preview.
The performance on Thursday, March 6th is free for the UMBC campus community.
Information and reservations: 410-455-2476 or

Public Information
Tickets: 410-752-8950 or
UMBC Arts website:

Media Resources
Online News Releases:
High resolution images:

-- From Baltimore and points north, proceed south on I-95 to exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Theatre.
-- From I-695, take Exit 12C (Wilkens Avenue) and continue one-half mile to the entrance of UMBC at the roundabout intersection of Wilkens Avenue and Hilltop Road. Turn left and follow signs to the Theatre.
-- From Washington and points south, proceed north on I-95 to Exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Theatre.
-- Visitor parking is available in the Commons Garage. Visitor parking regulations are enforced on all University calendar days. Hilltop Circle and all campus roadways require a parking permit unless otherwise marked.
Online campus map:

Posted by tmoore at February 8, 2008 9:36 AM