Cultural Stages


Cultural Stages: The Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative is designed to promote a greater understanding of world cultures through drama and dance. The project is funded by Ellis Woodward, UNH Class of '74.

Current Projects

Woodward International Playwriting Prize Competition

Selected from 437 submissions


  • Salim Salim by Stav Palti-Negev (Cultural Focus: Palestine)

  • The Way of the Pilgrim by Steve Capra (Cultural Focus: Russia)
  • Equal by Barry M. Putt, Jr. (Cultural Focus: Iran)
  • Kafka’s Joke by Rich Rubin (Cultural Focus: Central/Eastern European/Israel)
  • The Djinn by Divya Mangwani (Cultural Focus: Kashmir)
  • The Women of Kilmainham by Thom Molyneaux (Cultural Focus: Ireland)
  • Galilee by Christine Evans (Cultural Focus: Australia)
  • The Seekers by Jeesun Choi (Cultural Focus: Somalia/US)
  • Green Anarchy by Martin Nathan (Cultural Focus: multiple cultures)
  • Lucía Fuentes by J. Lynn Jackson Japan (Cultural Focus: Mexico, Spain)
  • The Excavation of Mary Anning by Ian August (Cultural Focus: UK )
  • La Casa Madre by Leora Lihach (Cultural Focus: Dominican Republic)
  • Meyerhold by Laura Lewis-Barr (Cultural Focus: Russia)
  • Esmeralda and the Pacific Vortez by Vita Patrick Morales (Cultural Focus: Peru)
  • The War Bride, The Soldier and the Doctor’s Wife by Julia Pascal (Cultural Focus: The Pale of Settlement, Europe)
  • The Shaking Earth by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen (Cultural Focus: India)
  • One of Us by Ron Elisha (Cultural Focus: Germany)
  • Kednnedy’s Acolytes by Jack Gilhooley (Cultural Focus: Ireland)


The Woodward Prize is part of Cultural Stages: The Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative and is given once every four years. The aim of this program is to broaden and deepen the understanding of international cultures through a competition for plays addressing relevant themes. Plays submitted for this competition should have a primary focus on cultures from countries other than the US. The winning play will be given a fully produced production as part of the University of New Hampshire's 2021-22 Department of Theatre and Dance main stage season. The winning Playwright will receive a cash prize of $5,000, plus expenses to travel to the University of New Hampshire and stay for the one week of performances. Finalists will be posted on the University of New Hampshire Department of Theatre and Dance website in October 2020. The winning play will be announced by February 1, 2021. A first and second runner up will also be named at that time. Pending funding, readings of the first and second runner up will be presented with travel and expenses provided to the playwrights to attend the readings.

Competition Guidelines:

  • Plays must focus on a country/culture other than the US.
  • Plays may also focus on the history and/or politics of the country/culture.
  • Plays must be in English.
  • Plays may be musical or non-musical.
  • If the submission is a musical, a recording of the music must be included with the submission.
  • Plays cannot have been previously fully produced. (Previous readings or workshop productions are allowed).
  • Plays must be at least 50 minutes in length.
  • The University of New Hampshire must be allowed to present and be credited for the non-professional premiere of the play or musical as part of the UNH 2021-22 season.
  • Unfortunately, feedback cannot be provided.
  • Any plays sent in hard copy will not be able to be returned. (Electronic submissions preferred).
  • No more than two submissions per playwright.
  • Submission Deadline: July 1, 2020.


For any questions or additional information contact: David Kaye Chair; Woodward International Playwriting Prize Selection Committee

Past Projects

The 2017 Woodward International Playwriting prize
The 2017 recipient of the Woodward International Playwriting prize was The Bone Bridge by Trina Davies.  Competition finalists included Hotel Jerusalem by David J. Swanson and Honor Killing by Sarah Bierstock.  A fully-produced production of the winning play, as well as readings of the two finalists, were produced during the UNH Theatre & Dance Department's 2017-2018 season. 

Performance of Et'teffeh by the Algerian Theatre Company Istijmam
On September 17, 2016, The Algerian Theatre Company Istijmam, on tour as part of Center Stage, brought their production of Et'teffeh to the University of New Hampshire.  This special production is made possible by funding from Cultural Stages: The International Drama and Dance Initiative.

World Premiere of the play SEMATAKAKI
The imagination is a powerful thing and can lead children on adventures through time, space, and so many places. What happens when two young children get so wrapped up in play that they are led to a place where there is no more joy?  This world premiere production explores this question and more.

In 2015, Maria Tri Sulistyani & Iwan Effendi from Papermoon Puppet Theatre were commissioned to create a theatrical performance and teach an undergraduate course in puppetry and mask making on the Durham campus. The end result, Sematakkaki was produced by the Department of the Theatre and Dance and performed December 2-6, 2015 in the Hennessy Theatre.
SEMATAKAKI: Connecting Cultures in the Hennessy Theater (article from UNH Today website)

World Premiere of the play Sila
Sila examines the competing interests shaping the future of the Canadian Arctic and local Inuit population. Set on Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut, it follows a climate scientist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, two Canadian Coast Guard officers, an Inuit elder and two polar bears as they see their values challenged and their lives become intricately intertwined. Equal parts Inuit myth and contemporary Arctic policy, Sila uses puppetry, projections, spoken word poetry and three different languages; English, French & Inuktitut.  Sila was written by Chantal Bilodeau and is the winner of the 2012 Woodward International Playwriting Prize.  Performances took place February 19-23, 2014 in the Johnson Theatre.
Reading of the play A Far Shore
A Far Shore, written by Douglas Huff, was a finalist in the 2012 Woodward International Playwriting Prize.  A reading of the play took place September 23, 2013 at 7pm in the Hennessy Theatre.  A second reading took place on September 24, 2013 at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH

Guest Dance Instructor Theophilus Martey
Guest instructor Theophilus Martey taught a class in African dance and drumming during the Fall 2012 semester.  The student's work in the class culminated in an original dance piece performed in the Johnson Theatre at the end of the semester.
The 2012 Woodward International Playwriting prize
The University of New Hampshire Department of Theatre and Dance announces that the winning play of the first Woodward International Playwriting Prize is Sila by Canadian playwright Chantal Bilodeau.
Guest resident playright Mohammad ben-Abdallah 
In 2012, Mohammad ben-Abdallah, one of Ghana's foremost playwrights, was commissioned to write a play and teach an undergraduate playwriting course on the Durham campus. His world premiere, Song of the Pharaoh was produced by the Department of the Theatre and Dance and performed April 18-22 in the UNH Johnson Theatre. The piece, set in Egypt, migrates between ancient and modern times and incorporates "Abibigoro" a unique form of modern African theatre.