First playwriting festival to feature seven original plays

Pen to Paper to Performance

This spring, Hesston College will debut a play writing festival entitled “From Pen to Paper to Performance,” that features seven original plays by local writers. It’s the first of what Hesston College Theatre Director Rachel Jantzi hopes will become an annual tradition.

“I was pleased with the number of submissions we received for this first-time event, and it was a hard process narrowing down to the final selections,” said Jantzi.

The plays, which each run about 10 minutes in length, will be produced in the final showcase event at 7 p.m., April 28 and 29, in Hesston College’s Helmuth Studio Theatre in Keim Center for Performing Arts Education. Tickets are $8 for adults and seniors, and $4 for students. Tickets will be sold at the door only starting at 6:15 each night. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited, so early arrival is encouraged.

Each play will include a cast of Hesston College students, faculty and two community members and will be directed by Jantzi.

“It has been a challenge to direct seven different shows,” said Jantzi. “They may be short, but each has its own distinct style and voice. Thankfully, we have an ensemble of 17 actors who have been working to bring these scripts to life. These local playwrights’ works are being treated with the same respect we would give any show we produce on our stage. I hope they sense that.”

The seven plays to be featured cover a wide range of genres from comedy to drama, and provoke both laughter and strong emotional responses. The content is rated PG-13 for brief language. The featured plays are:

  • Talking Donkey by Loretta Baumgartner, Hesston
  • Dying Day by Courtney Becker, Hesston
  • Cry Animals by Travis Duerksen, Newton
  • The Seven Million Club by Travis Duerksen, Newton
  • The Frame Shop by Susan Lamb, Hesston
  • Unquiet by Andre Swartley, Newton
  • Guilty by Donovan Tann, Newton

Each playwright will receive a portion of the box office earnings.