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York College Establishes JL Smith New Play Festival, Seeks Submissions for Inaugural Festival

February 17, 2021
Semi-transparent images of students are photoshopped in a photo of the blackbox theater

JL Smith, a former professional actor in the Atlanta area and husband of York College President Pamela Gunter-Smith, has donated funds to establish the JL Smith New Play Festival. The College’s Theatre program is seeking play submissions for the inaugural festival, which will take place via Zoom on May 6 and 7. In addition to performances, playwright Charly Evon Simpson will offer a keynote address on May 6. All components of the festival are open to the public free of charge.

Both 10-minute and full-length plays must be submitted by March 12. Five 10-minute plays and one full-length play will be selected for virtual performance; playwrights will be notified by April 1 if their script has been chosen. Cash prizes will be awarded for the audience favorite 10-minute play and to the playwright of the chosen full-length script. (Full-length plays will only be accepted from Pennsylvania playwrights.) The five 10-Minute plays will be performed on Zoom on May 6, and the winning full-length play will be featured on May 7.

Scripts will be read and chosen by a diverse team of readers, including T.J. Young, a Pittsburgh-based playwright; Seth Werner, production manager of the Dowd Theatre in Monroe, N.C.; and Rebecca Etzine, an MFA Director in Baltimore. The New Play Festival is being produced by Theatre Major Kyle Rossi of Mechanicsburg as a part of his Senior Capstone. Questions may be directed to Krossi3@ycp.edu.

“The York College Theatre Program is excited to be taking this multi-year step celebrating new work and supporting Mr. Smith’s goals for the festival,” said Rossi. “We are also excited to support new playwrights whose work has rarely or never been performed before, including the works of local playwrights.”

Smith’s gift is part of the College’s first comprehensive campaign, EVOLVE: The Campaign for York College.