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

WINNER ANNOUNCED - The 2017 Woodward International Playwriting prize

We are happy to announce the winner of the University of New Hampshire Woodward International Playwriting Prize is The Bone Bridge by Trina Davies. First runner-up is Hotel Jerusalem by David Swanson.  Second runner-up is Honor Killing by Sarah Bierstock and third runner up is Immaculate Payasam by Madhuri Shekar. On behalf of the 14-member selection committee, we extend our thanks to all the playwrights who submitted their work. We were incredibly impressed with the quality of the plays and musicals we had the privilege to read.

The Bone Bridge explores what happens when the unimaginable has been made real. The play visits individual people of all kinds and creeds that are trying to rebuild their lives after a deeply traumatic war. This timely play takes a hard look at an event that mars history, when home and country were lost, neighbor turned on neighbor, and begs the question, is healing and recovery even possible?

Trina Davies is an award winning playwright based in Vancouver Canada. Her plays have been performed across Canada and in a number of other countries including the United States, Germany, Italy, and India. Her work has been translated into Italian and German. UNH Theatre & Dance is proud to produce her play as part of its “Cultural Stages” program.

The purpose of “Cultural Stages: The Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative” is to promote a deeper understanding of international cultures through visiting playwrights and a competition for plays addressing relevant themes, resulting in a full production of the play at UNH.

Sincerely,
David Kaye, Chair


 
FINALISTS ANNOUNCED - The 2017 Woodward International Playwriting prize

We are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2017 Woodward International Playwriting Prize.  The winning play will be announced in January.

Sincerely,
David Kaye, Chair
Woodward International Playwriting Prize Committee

  • Hotel Jerusalem by David J. Swanson
  • Greater Israel by David Blackman
  • The Far Travelers by Sharon Dilworth
  • Honor Killing by Sarah Bierstock
  • Mother/Tongue by Connie Bennett
  • The Pearl of the Antilles by K.J.Crane
  • The Victims by Ken Kaissar
  • Immaculate Payasam by Madhuri Shekar
  • The Bone Bridge by Trina Davies
  • These Moments of Shine: A Dokumentary by Camille Pavlenko
  • Forgotten Bread by Sevan K. Greene

SEMI-FINALISTS ANNOUNCED - The 2017 Woodward International Playwriting prize

We are happy to announce the Woodward Prize semi-finalists. 270 plays were submitted from playwrights throughout the world. 10 finalists will be announced within the next two months, with a winning play and two runner-ups selected this January. On behalf of the 14-member selection committee, we extend our thanks to all the playwrights who submitted their work. We were incredibly impressed with the quality of the plays and musicals we had the privilege to read.

Sincerely,
David Kaye, Chair
Woodward International Playwriting Prize Committee

  • Hotel Jerusalem by David J. Swanson
  • De Troya by Caridad Svich
  • Greater Israel by David Blackman
  • Fuck la vie d'artiste by Georgette Kelly
  • The Far Travelers by Sharon Dilworth
  • Well by Maximillian Singh Gill
  • Honor Killing by Sarah Bierstock
  • Mother/Tongue by Connie Bennett
  • The Last Black Rhino by Ron Burch
  • Welcome to Your Life, Jiro Yamaguchi by Brian James Polak
  • The Pearl of the Antilles by K.J.Crane
  • The Common Room by Mark Rosati
  • The Victims by Ken Kaissar Immaculate Payasam by Madhuri Shekar
  • The Bone Bridge by Trina Davies
  • Sorrow of the Sea Maidens by Fengar Gael
  • Hajime by J.E. Nelson
  • These Moments of Shine: A Dokumentary by Camille Pavlenko
  • The Blogfather by Ken Cameron
  • Forgotten Bread by Sevan K. Greene
  • ¡Soldadera! By Jami Brandli
  • Simon by Toby Armour

The University of New Hampshire proudly announces the Woodward International Playwriting Prize. The Woodward international Playwriting Prize is part of Cultural Stages: The International Drama and Dance Initiative. 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 other than the US.  The winning play will be given a fully produced production as part of the University of New Hampshire's 2017-2018 eason. 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. 

Past Projects

Performance of Et'teffeh by the Algerian Theatre Company Istijmam
Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 7:00pm
Hennessy Theatre, Paul Creative Arts Center
Tickets: $15 General Public, $10 UNH ID Holder, $10 Youth

The Algerian Theatre Company Istijmam, on tour as part of Center Stage, bring 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.

Istijmam, a collaborative of theater makers, moves outward from the manifestos of Brecht and Grotowski to repopulate the halga, Algeria's town square, and renew populist traditions of improvisation and physical interaction. Et'teffeh/The Apples, foregrounds the repression and sectarian schisms that consumed Algeria during the Dark Decade of the 1990s. The play is performed by a trio led by Rihab Alloula and written by her father, theater director and playwright Abdelkader Alloula, who was assassinated in 1994. Remounted here, this gritty, intimate production, full of dark humor and barbed observation, bears witness to Algeria's shadowed past and confronts the complex destiny of the present day.

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, is a finalist in the 2012 Woodward International Playwriting Prize.  A reading of the play will take place September 23, 2013 at 7pm in the Hennessy Theatre.  A second reading will take 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.