New Visions, New Voices showcases student talent

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New Visions, New Voices features nine student plays this year. (Courtesy of SMU Meadows)

The 20th season of Meadows’ annual New Visions, New Voices spring playwriting festival opened Friday and will continue its second weekend beginning this upcoming Friday.

Guided by Associate Professor and Head of Theatre Studies Gretchen Smith, New Visions, New Voices features full-length plays written by nine senior playwriting students and directed by guest artists, alumni, faculty and current students.

“I am so excited about the directors,” Smith said. “We have alums directing, along with junior theatre students and three directors who are working in professional theatres in Dallas. Everything has fallen into place and we have really amazing plays.”

Students in the theatre division under the emphasis of theatre studies have the opportunity to take four semesters of playwriting under Professor Smith.

“Playwriting has become one of the classes that I appreciate the most,” senior theatre major Sarah Hamilton said. “It’s good to write because it makes you more articulate and it makes you think and be more specific.”

This year’s festival features the work of senior playwrights Claire Carson, Carson McCain, Stephen Gardner, Tom Valentine Gelo, Andrew Gonzalez, Sarah Hamilton, Kristen Kelso, Jacob Stewart and Teddy Warren.

“We have the wonderful support and knowledge of a professor like Dr. Smith,” senior theatre major Gelo said. “It is really inspiring to see your work take root in a group of talented theatre artists like the actors and directors we’ve been assigned. It’s amazing to have access to a talent pool like that as an outlet for your writing.”

Playing in the Greer Garson Theatre through Saturday, the festival incorporates both undergraduate and graduate theatre students in the theatre division.

“I think readings are just as important if not more important than big productions,” said senior playwright Kelso. “They are what is going to get you in the door.”

Over the 20 years that New Visions, New Voices has been at SMU, there have been
79 plays.

“The New Visions, New Voices process has confirmed for me a passion for new work by upcoming playwrights,” said senior playwright McCain. “As a director and an actor, I hope to participate in developing scripts at stages like these reading, and in workshops, and new play festivals.”

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