Yeah! Just got accepted into the Comparative Drama Conference in Orlando, Florida, March 30 to April 1, 2023. The Comparative Drama Conference is an international, interdisciplinary conference founded by Dr. Karelisa Hartigan at the University of Florida in 1977. Every year, approximately 200 scholars are invited to present and discuss their work in the field of drama and 2-4 new plays receive a staged reading. The conference draws participants from both the Humanities and the Arts. The papers delivered range over the entire field of theatre research and production. Over the past 40 years, participants have come from 32 nations and all 50 states. Each year a distinguished theatre scholar or artist is invited to address the participants in the Keynote Event.
Here’s a copy of my proposal and bio that I went in a few months ago:
How to Set Up an International Playwriting Competition
Have you ever wanted to take a dramatic theory from the page to the stage? One way to do this is to create a playwriting competition. In 2018, I did exactly this. I had a new theory of tragedy identifying the dramatic fulcrum as a low-probability, high-consequence event. After teaming up with a local theatre, I launched the Risk Theatre Modern Tragedy Playwriting Competition (risktheatre.com). The competition awards $14,000 in cash prizes each year in addition to running a workshop and staged reading for the winner. The competition is now in its fifth year.
Over the years, people have asked me for advice on how to set up a playwriting competition. In this talk, I’ll go over the logistics from partnering with a theatre to setting up the website, finding jurors, funding, and getting the word out. I’ll also share with you the lessons I’ve learned along the way. In every way, it’s been an amazing journey. The competition has opened doors for me and introduced me to new friends and experiences along the way. I’d love to share my story with you. Bring your questions.
Edwin Wong has been dubbed “an Aristotle for the 21st century” by David Konstan at NYU for exploring the intersection between risk and theatre. He has published two books and over a dozen articles and book chapters on this topic. In 2022, he was one of three international academics to receive the Ben Jonson Discoveries Award for his work on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In 2018, he founded the Risk Theatre Modern Tragedy Playwriting Competition, and has talked at venues from the Kennedy Center and the University of Coimbra to conferences hosted by the National New Play Network, Canadian Association of Theatre Research, Society of Classical Studies, and Classical Association of the Middle West and South. He was educated at Brown University and is on Twitter @TheoryOfTragedy.
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The nice thing about this acceptance is that it shows that the Risk Theatre Competition–now in its fifth year–has reached a certain stage in its development. I’ve proposed talks on how I set up the competition at different conferences in prior years, but there was little interest. With people I’ve known, run across, and chatted with in the past, however, there always was interest: “How did you set this up?” has always been a common question. But, until the competition got into its fifth year, it didn’t have enough “street cred” to interest conference organizers. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences at the Comparative Drama Conference in 2023. And the experience has taught me a critical lesson: when you have a dream, persistence over time is the key. Success isn’t measure in months and years, but in decades.
Keep going, friends. Never stop.
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Don’t forget me. I’m Edwin Wong and I do Melpomene’s work.
sine memoria nihil