Heermans-McCalmon competition winners present their work

The winners of the Department of Performing & Media Arts’ Heermans-McCalmon undergraduate writing competition will be honored Friday, March 22, at 4:30 p.m. in the Class of ’56 Dance Theatre, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

The presentation includes a staged reading of the first-place winning play, “Unwinding” by Elle Rothermich ’19, directed by associate professor Beth F. Milles. The second-place play, “How to Spell Permission” by Rachel Whalen ’19, will be presented in a table read.

Guest filmmaker Shadae Lamar Smith will share his professional directing input for “Lost & Found” by Lolia Briggs ’19, first-place winner in the screenplay category. Smith will present a style plan, explaining how he would approach the script if he were to film it. The second-place screenplay, “Costumes” by Ryan Delouya ’19, will also be presented in a table read.

Honorable mentions in the Heermans-McCalmon competition went to Julian Robison ’20 for the stage play “Sizzle” and to Zhengxi Hou ’20 for the screenplay “In the Wonderland.”

Industry guests dramaturg Morgan Jenness and filmmaker Smith will work with Rothermich and Briggs, respectively, on developing their scripts.

Following the presentations will be a discussion with moderator Milles and guest panelists Smith and Jenness. Smith and Jenness will also each be featured as speakers in PMA’s Professional Directions series, in which industry experts talk about their career journeys, on March 20 and 21, respectively, at 4:30 p.m. in the Schwartz Center’s Film Forum.

The Heermans-McCalmon annual awards were established at the bequest of Forbes Heermans (Class of 1878) and in memory of the late George McCalmon, professor of Speech and Drama. The awards are given for the best playwriting and screenwriting 10-minute scripts produced by students.

First-place winners earn cash prizes of $250 and second-place winners receive $100. In addition to the cash prize, the first-place winners also receive Final Draft Software, used to write and format stage and screenplays, and either a yearlong subscription to a relevant professional publication or a yearlong membership in a relevant professional organization.

In addition to the Heermans-McCalmon awards, the Drama Book Award will be presented to a Cornell senior who has made an outstanding contribution to theatre. Faculty and staff from the Department of Performing and Media Arts vote on the winner. The recipient receives up to $100 for scripts and books from either Samuel French or Dramatists Play Service.

The Heermans-McCalmon presentation and Professional Directions series are free and open to the public. The Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts is located at 430 College Ave., Ithaca, NY.

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