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Playwright John Yarbrough Wins Strawberry One-Act Festival

Playwright John Yarbrough was awarded Best Play at the Riant Theatre's Strawberry One-Act Festival 2015 for his tragicomedy Petra.

Petra was among dozens of plays competing for the top prize at the festival, held in February at the Hudson Guild Theatre. Alia Harvey-Jones of Front Row Productions judged the final round of the festival.

"I set out simply to pursue the comic premise of a couple who couldn't agree on whether they once went to Petra," Yarbrough said. "But it soon turned into something more, a play about memory and the loss of memory, about love and pain from the past. About how far you would go to forgive."

Petra actor Larry Gutman was also nominated for best male actor in the festival.

Less than two months before the festival began, Yarbrough's father died. It brought greater meaning to the play, he said.

"After my father's death, for me the stakes became bigger and bigger in the play," he said. "Suddenly I realized that all along I was writing the play to help me deal with the day when that would come."

Yarbrough's work has been honored by the Writers Guild of America East and the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. In his previous work as a TV news producer he was the recipient of Peabody and DuPont Awards.

For a full list of award winners and nominees, visit the Riant Theatre Web site: (

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