Announcing the Winners of the Second Annual John C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays!

Winner's of 2014 Undergraduate Prize PlaysThe John C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays honors outstanding work in playwriting, as well as directing, stage management and design. The program was created to foster student playwriting through the development of new works. It has been underwritten through a generous gift by Mike O’Malley ’88 (“Diverting Devotion,” “Yes Dear” and “Glee”).

These original student productions will be featured in an evening of one-act plays, April 16-19 in the Hennessy Theatre. The winning entries are:

“Ones and Zeros,” written by Brian Walker ‘15 of East Kingston, NH.

Seen. Typing… now there’s nothing. What’s going on? Adam and Violet struggle to keep their relationship together as it gets pulled apart by the petty problems of online communication. Meanwhile, Brick and Ava have a much more serious problem to deal with.

The winning playwright, Brian Walker, is a junior marketing and acting double major from East Kingston, New Hampshire. Brian is a board member for Mask and Dagger’s dramatic society and loves music, acting, sports and writing. He hopes to pursue a career in music/writing/acting when he graduates. “Ones and Zeroes” is his first play and will be directed by Kaitlin Deyo ‘14.

“Raisin Hell” written by Dan Shine ’14 of Shrewsbury, MA.

Sixteen year-old Mel and her mother don’t always get along, but when Mel accidentally summons a soul-bargaining demon, Mel is forced to realize the consequences of her actions and see that perhaps she is not always right.

Dan Shine is a senior English and theatre major from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. He hopes to pursue a career in writing and directing for stage, but also enjoys performing improvised comedy with UNH’s Improv Anonymous as well as collecting comics and playing video games in his free time. This is his second John C. Edwards playwriting award. “Raising Hell” is directed by Danielle Barrett ’14.

“Party of Three” written by Amy Desrosiers ’14 of Salem, NH.

When recent-college-grad Julia gets the house to herself for the weekend, she plans to take advantage of her alone time. The step-father/step-son robber duo, Cal and Dennis, find the perfect house to hit in order to save their butts from an angry mob boss. When the two worlds collide, mayhem and confusion commence.

Amy Desrosiers is a junior theatre and Spanish major from Salem, New Hampshire. She is involved with the social justice group, WildActs, and the leadership organization, uLEAD. Amy hopes to pursue a career in either acting or international hospitality. This is her first play and she plans to keep writing. “Party of Three” is directed by Rachel Vilandre ’14.

“Uncle Zeke” written by Thomas Spencer ’16 of Bedford, NH.

When Zeke suspects his own wife Connie may be in the Mafia, he attempts to confirm his theory with schemes woven of hints from old friends, the assassination of President Kennedy and aliens.

The winning playwright, Tom Spencer, is a sophomore journalism major from Bedford, New Hampshire. He frequently contributes to The New Hampshire and UNH Tales. He is studying Arabic and hopes to pursue a career in journalism. “Uncle Zeke” is directed by Samantha Smith ‘14.

Other prize winners include set designer, Lyndsey Nowlan ’15 of Leominster, Massachusetts; costume designer, Sarah LaFlamme ’14 of Franklin, Massachusetts and lighting designer, Connor McGrath ’14 of Manchester, New Hampshire.

The second annual John C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays runs April 16-19 in the UNH Hennessy Theatre. Tickets are $8 for UNH students, ID holders and seniors and groups of 15 or more, and $10 for the general public and can be purchased through the PCAC Ticket Office located in the Johnson Theatre lobby of the Paul Creative Arts Center. This full-service ticket office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one hour before curtain. Tickets purchased online will incur NO ADDITIONAL FEES. Call 603-862-7222 or visit For more information about our season, our programs, to book a tour or to make field trip reservations for your school, visit or call 603.862.2150.

Photo by UNH Photo Services: Left to right: Brian Walker, Danielle Barrett, Kaitlin Deyo, Samantha Smith, Thomas Spencer, Amy Desrosiers, Rachel Vilandre

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Announcing a Pilot Opera Program at UNH!

Melissa Manseau

The UNH Department of Theatre and Dance is pleased to announce a new hybrid summer education program. The UNH Youth Opera Pilot Program is a group of advanced singers ages 12-26 years, exploring, performing and exposing other young audiences to the art of Opera. Cross-over work is more popular than ever as both theater and opera companies strive to meet audience demands. Most US opera companies produce at least one musical every year as well as operetta. Singers can learn more about cross-over work by adding opera and operetta to their portfolio.

Manseau plans to use the pilot to grow the program in its new home at the university. Based on a program founded in 2003 by Manseau as YOW! (Youth Opera Workshop), the group has performed many favorites including Mozart operas, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, and Cosi fan tutte as well as Bizet’s Carmen, Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel, and the comic opera by Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.

Using minimalistic costumes, props, and sets, the UNH Youth Opera Pilot Program will explore scenes from these and other famous operas for a June 2014 performance in UNH’s Hennessey Theatre, located in the Paul Creative Arts Center in Durham. Any registered UNH student can join the group for a greatly discounted rate.

Singers interested in joining the group should be able to learn advanced vocal music, sometimes in a foreign language, in regular lessons with a voice instructor. Singers who have not worked with Melissa Manseau before will need to meet and audition before the start of rehearsals (please prepare one classical style piece). For further questions or to set up an informal audition, please contact


  • Enrolled UNH Student: (fee waived for pilot program)
  • UNH Alumni: $50
  • General Public: $150

Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays 5-9p.m. and Thursdays from 5-7p.m. starting May 13 in the UNH Hennessy Theatre. There is flexibility in the schedule for conflicts that the director has in writing, in advance. Tech week is June 16-19, 5-9p.m. daily. Performances are on Friday, June 20, at 7p.m., Saturday, June 21, at 7p.m. and Sunday, June 22, at 2p.m. in the UNH Hennessey Theatre. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased online at or at the PCAC Box Office, located in the Johnson Theatre lobby in the Paul Creative Arts Center, one hour prior to curtain.

To register visit

The UNH Youth Opera Pilot Program is part of ArtsREACH. ArtsREACH is the education and outreach division of the UNH Department of Theatre and Dance. Through ArtsREACH, the department provides opportunities for the community and area schools to participate in high quality theatre and performing arts experiences like Drama Day field trips, summer drama and dance camps, school matinees, and the famous Little Red Wagon professional summer theatre touring company. For more information about ArtsREACH’s mission and services call 603-862-0093 or visit

UNH Photo Services
Photo: Melissa Manseau

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Marketing & Promotions Specialist Position Available

RESPONSIBILITIES: Oversee all aspects of marketing, promotion, communications, public/alumni relations and related management for all department of theatre and dance programming, recruitment and fundraising; Create detailed annual marketing plans, budgets and workflow; Plan, organize, evaluate, coordinate and manage all of the Department’s outreach efforts including, but not limited to all ArtsREACH programs, including the hiring and supervising over sixty seasonal staff; Extensive graphics design for online and print; digital marketing strategies for Facebook, Twitter and electronic email communications for external audiences; conduct market research. 

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, or related field and two years of related marketing and/or communications experience; Graphic design skills and understanding of social media; Ability to deal effectively with the public and work cooperatively with internal staff; Supervisory ability; Marketing research and analytical skills; Excellent communications skills, both oral and written.

ADDITIONAL DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS: Prefer experience in the following areas: program development, program administration, budgets, scheduling, marketing, public relations, creation of promotional items; Background in the Performing Arts is preferred; Experience with all of the following: MS Word, MS Access, MS Excel, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Acrobat, MS Outlook/Exchange, MS Power Point; Proficient in organization and management of multiple projects, people, and data to meet strict deadlines

Starting salary normally not to exceed $46,750.00.

Review of applications begin March 24, 2014.  Search will continue until position is filled.  Hiring contingent upon eligibility to work in the U.S.  UNH prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, or marital status. Application by members of all underrepresented groups is encouraged.

Apply online at  Include a cover letter, resume, letters of recommendation, and writing or promotional samples.

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UNH Annual Dance Company Concert March 26-30

02242014_AliceInWonderlandThe UNH Dance Company presents a dance concert featuring ballet, jazz, tap and aerial, March 26-30, 2014 in the UNH Johnson Theatre. The concert features original adaptations of “Peter and the Wolf” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

Against his grandfather’s wishes, brave Peter sets out to capture a wolf. Along the way he encounters some animal friends and becomes the hero of his village. Based on a popular Russian children’s story and set to Prokofiev’s world-famous score, this is a magical introduction to classical music and ballet, choreographed and directed by Susan Endrizzi.

In addition, Endrizzi choreographed a second piece from the first movement of Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No.3.” This abstract contemporary ballet piece shows the diversity of Prokofiev’s music, when compared to the more traditional “Peter and the Wolf.”

Professor Gay Nardone created a jazz/tap/aerial interpretation of the classic story of “Alice in Wonderland” about a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The lines of reality versus fantasy are blurred as Alice desperately tries to find her way back home.

The UNH Dance Concert runs March 26-29 at 7:00 p.m. and March 30, at 2:00 p.m. in the UNH Johnson Theatre. There is a school matinee on Friday, March 28, at 10:00 a.m. All tickets are $7.00. Call 603-862-2919 for details. For tickets, contact the PCAC ticket office (Monday through Friday between 10:00AM and 5:00PM) at 603-862-7222. You may also purchase tickets online with no fee at Tickets are $8.00 for youth under 18, $14.00 for students, seniors, UNH ID holders and groups of 15 or more and $16.00 for general admission. The PCAC Ticket Office is also open one hour prior to curtain in the lobby at the Paul Creative Arts Center. For more information, and show times, please call the ticket office at 603-862-7222.

Photo Credit: UNH Photo Services Alice: Shayla Stewart, Cat: Melissa Beauvais.

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New Book from Arthur Lessac and Deborah Kinghorn

lessac book

RMJ DONALD Fine Books and Plays is very proud to announce the release of ESSENTIAL LESSAC: Honoring the Familiar in Body, Mind, Spirit. This is an eloquent pocket-book loaded with often forgotten wisdom, and was the last book written by Arthur Lessac, who wrote it with his colleague, Deborah Kinghorn, who is a Master Teacher of Lessac Kinesensics. Available from all online vendors and via your local bookseller.

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Alum Creates Career Assistance Program For Theatre And Dance Majors

R.E.A.C.H. (Real Employment And Career Help) is a new program designed to provide financial assistance for both current and recently graduated UNH Theatre & Dance students who participate in internships with highly regarded theatre or dance organizations. The program is funded by Ellis Woodward, UNH Class of ’74.

The internship criteria are based on the professional level of the company; the artistic value and scale of the productions the company produces; the company’s ability to guide and help the student in professional development and their ability to bridge professional connections for the student.

The student qualifications demand that the student be a Theatre and Dance major with a minimum of 2.5 academic GPA, and a minimum of 3.0 Theatre/Dance GPA. The student must demonstrate a consistent history of department production involvement, a level of discipline and integrity, as evidenced in departmental undertakings, and a commitment and dedication to a career in theatre and/or dance.

Current students and recent graduates still have time to apply for awards. For summer 2014 R.E.A.C.H. awards, all paperwork is due March 20, 2014.

For more information on R.E.A.C.H., contact:
David Kaye
Phone: (603) 862-0667
Fax: (603) 862-0298
M313 Paul Creative Arts Center
30 Academic Way
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824

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UNH Tackles Climate Change, Culture Clash With Production of “Sila”

SILA press shoot 01232013“Sila,” opening February 19 in the UNH Johnson Theatre, is the first winning play from the Woodward International Playwriting Competition to be produced by the UNH Department of Theatre and Dance. Part of Cultural Stages: Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative, the project is funded by Ellis Woodward, UNH Class of ’74.

“Sila” was selected from more than 149 submissions and written by NYC based Canadian playwright, Chantal Bilodeau. The play examines the competing interests shaping the future of the Canadian Arctic and local Inuit population. Set on Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut, it follows a climate scientist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, two Canadian Coast Guard officers, an Inuit elder and two polar bears as they see their values challenged and their lives become intricately intertwined. Equal parts Inuit myth and contemporary Arctic policy, “Sila” uses puppetry, projections, spoken word poetry and three different languages; English, French & Inuktitut.

Behind the scenes, the “Sila” production team has been at work for months. Because of the subject matter and its educational implications, Director Professor Deb Kinghorn partnered with the UNH Sustainability Institute and the Discovery Program to extend the play’s reach across campus. The creative team also worked with Cambridge based professional theatre company, Underground Railway Theatre (URT), on the creation of several puppets, among them, two life-sized polar bears, which URT will use in their professional production of “Sila” following the UNH performances.

Though mounting a new and original production can be challenging, it also has its rewards. “As for my role as the director,” Says Kinghorn, “I have now worked on this play for over a year and a half, and I still love it. I love what it says and how it says it. I love that the play is not just about climate change; it is about people coming together, honoring other cultures, respecting nature, and learning that no one has all the answers, which makes sharing and working together vital, if we are to progress without further damage.”

In keeping with the sustainability theme, Professor Szu-Feng Chen designed and constructed a set using recycled plastic bottles. “I wanted to create a pure and clean world that represents the home of the polar bears,” says Chen, “and in the meantime, keep it abstract to serve as a backdrop for the different layers of the Inuit’s world. The keywords for the overall visual are “light, translucent, and layers.” I decided to use recycled materials to represent the human world. It hints at the impact of the choice we (humans) make may have upon nature and ourselves.”

Kinghorn reflects that working on “something like this, something that is close to your heart and in which you believe, there is always the feeling that you need to give everything extra attention, because it deserves it, and you don’t want to let down the play, the playwright, and all the people who are investing their time in creating the production. As director of the play, I feel this acutely. It is more than just putting on a play; it is creating an experience, which I hope will educate on many levels, make people feel, think, and debate, and also entertain and enlighten.”

The collaboration with the Sustainability Institute and the Discovery Program will provide opportunities for education and debate. There is a scheduled talk back series following every performance. The creative team has invited scientists, activists, and artists to join them on the stage on various evenings to explore the questions raised by “Sila” and to learn what we can do to create the change we wish to see in the world.

“It’s what theatre does best,” says Kinghorn, “and I think we are going to do it well.”

The production and collaborations are made possible by Cultural Stages: The Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative with support from the UNH Sustainability Institute. Cultural Stages is designed to promote a greater understanding of world cultures through drama and dance.

  • Written by Chantal Bilodeau
  • Directed by Professor Deb Kinghorn
  • Set design by Professor Szu-Feng Chen
  • Lighting design by Megan Reilly
  • Costume design by Sara Demos
  • Puppet design by Carol Jo Fisher and David Fichter

February 19 – 22, at 7:00 pm, and February 23, at 2:00 pm in the UNH Johnson Theatre. Tickets are $8 for youth aged 17 and under, $14 for UNH students, ID holders and seniors and groups of 15 or more, and $16 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased through the PCAC Ticket Office located in the Johnson Theatre lobby of the Paul Creative Arts Center. This full-service ticket office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one hour before curtain. Tickets purchased online will incur NO ADDITIONAL FEES. Call 603-862-7222 or visit For more information about our season, our programs or to book a tour, visit or call 603.862.2150.

Photo Credit: UNH Photo Services
Kneeling is Natalie Bujeaud and standing is Melissa Snow.
Creation of puppets, Carol Jo Fisher

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