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May 16, 2008

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

UT Tyler Creative Writing Class Now Published Playwrights

A one-act play written by a creative writing class at The University of Texas at Tyler has been selected as a top winner in an annual competition sponsored by the Tyler Civic Theater Center.

The screenplay, along with four other scripts chosen, will be read at the third annual New Play Festival to be held at the Rogers Children’s Theater June 14. The spring 2008 English 3314 class wrote “The Bathroom Window,” which began not as a screenplay, but a weekly free writing assignment.

“The students began each Wednesday night’s class with 15 minutes of free writing,” said Dr. Dana Adams, UT Tyler senior lecturer in English, who taught the course. “They edited it during the week and turned it in the following Wednesday night. One prompt was a photo of a bathroom I ripped out of a magazine and copied for each student. The writing assignment was to appeal to as many senses as feasible, and the writing was so good I asked them to add characters.” 

Adams then received an invitation to enter a work in the civic theater center’s “Seeking a Good Story, Well Told” competition.

“I explained to the students that their writing would now be a play and we would push to make the competition deadline,” Adams explained. “We divided into groups and created conflict, more setting and additional details of characterization. The students named the characters, and we were on our way.”

Writing the play was a “really neat” process, according to Hannah Strout of Tyler, a spring 2008 graduate who took the course as an elective.

Bathroom Window print cover
“It was challenging to put everyone’s different ideas into a cohesive product but it taught us great life skills such as learning how to work with people, cooperating and making compromises in order to achieve a finished product,” Strout said. “It is great that our work was recognized. It showed us that a whole semester’s worth of writing, editing and rewriting had finally paid off.” 

Scripts in the competition were selected by a panel of experienced theater educators and producers.

“I’m very proud of the students and hope to enter the competition again next spring semester,” Adams added. “I told them they are now all ‘published playwrights’ and presented each student with a printed booklet of the play, which the English department generously printed for me.”

For more information about the Tyler Civic Theater Center, call 903.592.0561.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

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