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Lauren Gunderson, David Henry Hwang & More to Select Winners of #ENOUGH: PLAYS TO END GUN VIOLENCE Contest

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Lauren Gunderson, David Henry Hwang & More to Select Winners of #ENOUGH: PLAYS TO END GUN VIOLENCE Contest

Nationally recognized playwrights Lauren Gunderson, Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney, Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan, Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang, and Karen Zacarías will select the winning plays for #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence, a playwriting contest for middle and high school students.

Students in grades 6-12 are encouraged to submit ten-minute plays confronting the issue of gun violence for consideration, now through June 20, 2020. The winning plays will be made available for free to communities across the country that are participating in an evening of simultaneously staged readings on December 14, 2020, which is the eighth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings.

As of March, over 40 reading locations in 19 states have been confirmed at middle and high schools, as well as at partnering theatre companies, including renowned regional theatres, Alliance Theatre, Atlantic Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and South Coast Repertory. The goal is to have 418 readings on December 14, matching the number of mass shootings that the United States endured in 2019, an all-time high for the country according to the Gun Violence Archive.

#ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence is a campaign of grassroots theatre activism that seeks to catalyzecritical conversations about gun violence across the country by providing young people with a platform through which to express themselves, by writing plays that will foster open dialogue in their communities and inspire creative action.

"Throughout history, theatre has served as a public forum where society faces itself," said panelist judge David Henry Hwang, whose credits include M. Butterfly and Yellow Face. "I eagerly support #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence because I'm excited to hear the voices of young people, a generation whose lives and well-being have been most impacted by this country's recent waves of gun violence and mass shootings."

"What better way to use your voice against gun violence than to use it and also share it," agreed Lauren Gunderson, the most produced playwright of the 2019-2020 theatre season, according to TCG. "#ENOUGH doesn't just encourage young writers to put their unique experiences of gun violence into words, but it offers those words to others as a way to inspire, comfort, and compel. That's theatre at its best. I'm incredible proud to support this project."

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt everyday life, participation in #ENOUGH remains strong. To adjust to the challenges that a pandemic poses, the deadline for submissions was pushed back by two months, from April 20 to June 20. Over 80 plays have already been submitted, with more on the way as both participating teachers and theatres continue to utilize #ENOUGH to engage with their young writers remotely. Even in the ensuing weeks of the current health crisis, new teachers and theatres continue to sign up to participate.

"Our campaign engages young writers to apply their creativity to an issue that will unfortunately persist once we emerge from the other end of this pandemic," says #ENOUGH Producer Michael Cotey. "And when things return back to normal, does that have to include our epidemic of gun violence? Or might our young people show us a new and better normal through their plays? Now is the moment to pick up a pen, or put their keyboards to use, and tell us what kind of future they want to see."

The pandemic has even opened the door to surprising opportunities, including collaborations that span the country. For example, Santa Fe Playhouse Young Playwrights Project has retooled their #ENOUGH workshops, scheduled for early April, from in-person to online offerings. Now, they will coordinate with The Goodman Theatre to serve their Chicago area teens via Zoom as well - a collaboration the connects two communities separated by over a thousand miles.

Students can submit their plays at https://www.enoughplays.com/submit. Educators, theatres, and other organizations looking to partner with #ENOUGH, should visit www.enoughplays.com for more information.

Please contact producer Michael Cotey with any questions at enoughplays@gmail.com.


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