Feb. 9, 2004

Contact: Paul Lim, Department of English, (785) 864-3642.

KU student playwright wins top award in 10-minute play regional competition

LAWRENCE -- Kristen Wirsig, a University of Kansas junior in creative writing, has won the top award in the 10-minute play competition at the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, held at the University of Denver Jan. 18 through 24.

Wirsig, of Colorado Springs, Colo., will travel to Washington, D.C., April 12 through 18 to see her play, "The Story of Izanagi and Izanami," compete with seven other 10-minute plays selected from across the nation in the national KCACTF.

Wirsig wrote her play in a Beginning Playwriting class taught in the KU English department by Professor Paul Stephen Lim, who submitted the play to the KCACTF playwriting competition. It was one of eight plays selected from a pool of 76 entries for staged readings in Denver, where Wirsig worked with a director and student actors from the region.

Wirsig received an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the next round of rehearsals and to see her play performed at the Kennedy Center in April. While in Washington, she also will attend master classes in playwriting with professional playwrights from New York. The winning playwright in April gets a cash award of $1,000 and publication of the play by Dramatic Publishing Inc.

This is the third time one of Lim's playwrights has advanced to the Kennedy Center with a 10-minute play. Previous KU winners were Scott Ferree with "Pterodactyls" in 1999 and Tim Macy with "Attack of the Asians" in 2003. In April 2001, the English Alternative Theatre production of "Bunnies" by Michael O'Brien was performed at the Kennedy Center. The same year, "Whiteout" by Alan Newton won the KCACTF Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award.

Ferree, of McPherson, graduated in May 2001 with a bachelor's degree in English. Macy, of Topeka and Noel, Mo., earned a bachelor's degree in English in fall 2002. O'Brien, of Winnetka, Ill., graduated in May 2003 with a bachelor's degree in English. Newton, of Louisville, Ky., graduated in fall 2002 with a Ph.D. in English.

Wirsig is the daughter of Gary and Doreen Wirsig of Omaha, Neb. She graduated from Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs.

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