White Box Festival adds spin to classics, gives opportunity to student writers, directors

By: MARY KATE DORR – Asst. A&E Editor

Calling all creative writers, theatre enthusiasts and everyone in between. This coming August, the University of Dayton will premiere the White Box Theatre Festival, a series of plays written by members of the UD community. These plays will be performed at the White Box Theatre at UD and range from one to 30 minutes.

From submitted scripts, eight to 10 plays will be chosen and playwrights will be paired up with a student director. This director will also partner with an Artist-in-Residence to aid in developing the play.

This festival is part of the IMPACT exhibit. The exhibit features three “layers,” according to ArtStreet director Brian LaDuca, with this festival being the third layer: a performance reaction to the rest of the exhibit.

The first layer of the exhibit will be held in the library and features influential books and manuscripts, ranging from early Shakespeare writings to the famous novel Tom Sawyer. Participants of the White Box Theatre Festival should draw their inspiration for submitted scripts from the exhibit, which LaDuca explained will be major criteria in choosing the plays that will be produced.

“It could be a one minute comedy influenced by [Shakespeare’s] Richard IV or a 30 minute drama regarding the origins of the play,” said LaDuca. “We’re looking to see how people react to famous books and radical creativity.”

The idea from this contest formed after a performance in the White Box Gallery this past year, in which there was no seating, allowing a more intimate setting for both audience members and actors.

“You will be able to watch a five minute play, turn around and see another eight minute play, and turn around and see a six minute play,” said LaDuca, regarding the flexibility and originality of the festival.

LaDuca is both the professional advisor and co-founder of this event, along with alumnus Josh Chamberlain ‘14, who will be serving as a creative consultant to help keep the production running smoothly. Chamberlain said he is excited to lift the boundaries of creativity through this unique production.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to do something different or unique and had someone tell me, ‘That’s not going to work,” said Chamberlain. “And it always seems to leave me wondering, ‘Why not?’”

To submit a script, students can log on to the library website, click on the “Imprints and Impressions” exhibit listing, and creatively respond to one of the works listed to be featured within the exhibit. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 15 and winners will be chosen by Aug. 22. Submissions can be emailed to whiteboxtheatrefestival@gmail.com.