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Playwright to Mentor
UC Students

Date: Oct. 12, 2001
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Archive: Campus News

Young playwrights from Greater Cincinnati and University of Cincinnati playwriting students will learn more about their craft at the hands of a New York playwright in a new residency program launched by UC's Helen Weinberger Center for the Study of Drama and Playwriting. One of his works will be presented in a lab production at the College-Conservatory of Music.

Up to 15 students will attend classes twice a week for five weeks with New York playwright David Johnston, from Oct. 30-Dec. 1, according to Norma Jenckes, Weinberger Center director and UC professor of English. Classes will meet 2-4:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in Room 801A, Swift.

Johnston, a native of Lexington, Ky. who grew up in Richmond, Va., began writing plays about six years ago. He is also an actor who has performed in his own plays, soap operas, commercials and documentary voice-overs. The 37-year-old playwright was selected as the B.W. Morris Playwright in Residence after a national contest. Eight of his plays have been produced at theaters such as the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Turnip Theatre Co., Sage Theatre, Twelve Miles West, Neighborhood Playhouse, Henry Street Settlement House (all in New York) and Moving Arts (Los Angeles). He holds a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary and participated in a two-year Circle in the Square Professional Workshop.

Johnston also is the winner of the Alan Minieri Memorial Playwriting Award, is a two-time winner of the Turnip Theatre Fifteen-Minute Play Festival and received an honorable mention in the Moving Arts One-Act Play Competition.

The UC residency has long been a dream of Norma Jenckes, director of the Weinberger Center and UC professor of English. Since the center opened in 1990, she has brought some of the most prominent figures in drama to serve as mentors to UC students and work with Cincinnati's theater community. Edward Albee, Lee Blessing and Michael Weller have been among them. She also co-founded the Theatre of the Mind, a public reading series that gives exposure to significant plays not previously seen in Cincinnati.

"It is really my goal to expand opportunities in Cincinnati's theater scene, to create a more lively and thriving theater community," she said. Funding for the residency, which honors the memory of a prominent Cincinnati businessman, was provided by William and Christine Chronis.

For more information about the Weinberger Center residency, contact Norma Jenckes at 513-556-3914.

The play that won Johnston the UC residency, "Candy and Dorothy," will be presented in a lab production at the College-Conservatory of Music.

  • 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday
  • Nov. 29-30
  • Studio Theater
  • Free
  • Information: (513) 556-4183

This comedy imagines a meeting between Candy Darling, who was a notorious member of the Andy Warhol group, and Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Seating is limited. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The same play will also be read in the Theatre of the Mind Series. This year's series focuses on "Discover America." The Johnston play will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. Admission is $5.

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