Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Ten-Minute Play Fest Returns

From left: "Unusual Suspects" players Lynn Wells (Hazel), Jack Williams (Franky), Alice Walker (Festival Director), and Randy Weeks (Rover).  Photo by Mike Stanton.
From left: “Unusual Suspects” players Lynn Wells (Hazel), Jack Williams (Franky), Alice Walker (Festival Director), and Randy Weeks (Rover). Photo by Mike Stanton.

Theatre Oxford’s annual event is October 24, 25, and 27.

Theatre Oxford’s 2013 Annual Ten Minute Play Festival comes to the Powerhouse Community Arts Center in Oxford October 24, 25, and 27. Every year, Theatre Oxford holds the National Ten Minute Play Contest, receiving submissions from playwrights from all over the world. Five finalists from the Contest are presented at the Staged Readings in May, where the Grand Prize Winner is determined. The winning play is then fully produced along with four other plays, featuring several written by local playwrights, at the Annual Ten Minute Play Festival in the fall. The festival involves many local actors and directors and celebrates the playwright and the genre of the ten-minute play.

This year’s event is the 14th festival. Local playwrights Neil White and L. W. Thomas, founded the National Ten Minute Play Contest in 1998. The first Grand Prize Winner was produced in 1999 prior to the production of Neil White’s play Paper. The festival started in 2000 and featured the Grand Prize Winner from the National Contest and locally written plays.

This year, the festival boasts two winning plays: the Grand Prize Winner as well as the Audience Award Winner from the National Contest. Mark Cornell of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, won the L. W. Thomas Award, and Adam Joseph Seidel of Chicago, Illinois, took the audience vote at the Staged Readings in May. Other plays being produced at the festival this year are written by locals Bill Dabney and Judith Isacoff. Two-time winner of the National Contest Austin K. Steinmetz of Columbus, Ohio, has also allowed the festival organizers to produce another one of his plays and is being dubbed an honorary Oxonian this year.

“After participating as an actor in the Ten Minute Play Festival last year, I thought I would try my hand at writing one,” Dabney says. “You can imagine my surprise when the play I submitted—the first play I’ve ever written—was selected to be performed in this year’s festival. I’m so honored to have been chosen as one of the playwrights, and I’m excited to see my play come to life on the Theatre Oxford stage.”

Tickets are available at or or by calling the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council at (662) 236-6429. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 27. Admission is $10 for Theatre Oxford Members and students; regular admission is $15. Thursday and Friday nights will feature a cash bar. The plays may include adult themes and language.

For more information about the contest or annual festival, contact Alice Walker, at