Playwrights retreat hosts Aug. 18 reading at Sculpture Woods on Lummi Island

  • two people walk among two soaring sculptures on a lawn surrounded by tall trees
    Sculpture Woods
  • Kamarie Chapman
    Kamarie Chapman
  • Eryn Elyse McVay
    Eryn Elyse McVay
  • Jay Chavez
    Jay Chavez
  • Jessi Pitts
    Jessi Pitts
  • Ryan Han
    Ryan Han
  • Grace Heller
    Grace Heller
  • Savannah LeCornu
    Savannah LeCornu

BELLINGHAM -- Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts and Department of Theatre and Dance will host a public reading of plays workshopped at Strait Plays, a new playwright retreat at Sculpture Woods on Lummi Island.

The reading is free and open to the public on Sunday, Aug. 18 at 3:30 p.m.

Strait Plays brings emerging alumni playwrights to Lummi Island to write, collaborate and perform new works inspired by the island and the breathtaking backdrop of Sculpture Woods, a 14.5-acre wooded property and sculpture garden donated last year to Western by noted artist Ann Morris and her family. Under the generous philanthropic agreement, Morris and her family are donating Sculpture Woods to the WWU Foundation. In turn, Western maintains the sculptures and uses the property to enrich its curriculum.

The reading will take place in the open, and attendees are encouraged to bring something to sit on. Play readings are expected to last about an hour and fifteen minutes. On-site parking is limited and additional parking will be available directly across from the fire station. Directions and travel information is available at www.sculpturewoods.com/visitors.html.

WWU Senior Instructor Kamarie Chapman, ’06, B.A., theatre, will lead the retreat. Chapman, who has taught playwriting, dramaturgy, criticism and film at Western for nine years, is one of the three faculty members included in WWU’s 2019 Innovative Teaching Showcase. She has written award-winning plays that are produced around the world.

Other playwrights invited to the retreat include:

Eryn Elyse McVay ’18, B.A., theatre, “Blood Under The Skin,” “Flamingos,” and “How Sweet The Sound,” were all produced locally. McVay earned a Distinguished Achievement award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2018 and 2019 for “How Sweet The Sound.”

Jay Chavez, ’19, B.A., theatre, a Bellingham-based playwright and performer who had the chance to travel to the Kennedy Center in June to workshop their play “how to clean your room (and remember all your trauma)” as a part of The Undergraduate Playwriting Workshop.

Jessi Pitts, ’19, B.A., theatre, the 2019 national recipient of the Gary Garrison 10-Minute Play Award for her short play, “Silver Sixpence.” She also writes fiction, and her short story, “Matthew 3:11,” was published in Jeopardy Magazine. Her full-length play, “Mad About You,” will have its first performance this fall at WWU.

Ryan Han, ’19, B.A., theatre, whose one-act play, “Dust of the Street,” was a regional and national finalist for the 2018 John Cauble National Short Play Award through the Kennedy Center. His newest work, “Memorial Day,” is being workshopped in Seattle. Closer to home, Ryan and his collaborator Kendra Tamär Budd, ’19, B.A., theatre, creative writing, co-created Mix it Up – an annual weekend-long festival of new works that seeks to elevate the voices of mixed-race playwrights like themselves.

Grace Heller, ’19, B.A., theatre, who was the artistic director of Student Theatre Productions at Western, interned at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and was selected as the Outstanding Theatre Graduate by department faculty. Her play “Rory’s Story” was one of four regional nominees for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival John Cauble One-Act Competition. She is passionate about creating theatre for young audiences, and accessible theatre for all. 

Savannah LeCornu, ’14, B.A., theatre, an Alaskan Native American, part of the Tsimshian, Haida, Tlingit, and Nez Perce tribes. She is also First Nations Nisga’a and part of the Wolf Clan. LeCornu is a self-taught artist and has worked with formline for about 10 years. Originally from Ketchikan, Alaska, she lives in Bellingham with her husband Charley and their cat Spaghetti.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - 10:25am

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