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York College of PA Announces Winner of JL Smith New Play Festival

April 08, 2022
Headshot of Morra Harris

The Bergerac Simulation” by Pittsburgh resident Morra Harris has been selected as the winning full-length play of York College of Pennsylvania’s JL Smith New Play Festival. A staged reading of the play will be directed by Dylan Russell and presented at 7 p.m., May 6, on Zoom. 

In addition, six winning 10-minute plays will also be presented at 7 p.m., May 5, on Zoom. The plays focus on the complexities of love, and the playwrights hail from U.S. cities like Atlanta, New York City, and Boston and as far away as Exeter, England, and Sydney, Australia. 

More information can be found at York College Theatre Program’s website and on YCP Theatre’s social media channels, including on Twitter at @FestJL. 

“The Bergerac Simulation” is adapted from “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmund Rostand. Sara Bergerac is a girl burdened with a useless playwrighting degree and a prodigious nose. When she is tasked with helping develop a VR start-up, she gets intertwined in a love triangle. Harris’ plays have been developed through Pittsburgh Public Theater, City Theatre Company, Pittsburgh Opera, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, and the Kennedy Center’s Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center Fellowship. She holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and theater from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in dramatic writing from Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied with Rob Handel. She teaches screenwriting at Point Park and La Roche universities and serves as Pittsburgh's Regional Co-Representative for the Dramatist Guild.

Russell is a director, teaching artist, new play developer, and community engagement specialist whose passion for interactive storytelling has influenced her work with schools and organizations such as American Conservatory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Oakland Public Schools, Marin Theatre Company, California Shakespeare Theatre, and Jewish Community High School of the Bay. Most recently, she was the director of education and community engagement at Laguna Playhouse.  

This festival is made possible by a multi-year donation, as part of the EVOLVE fundraising campaign, from former professional actor and husband of York College President Pamela Gunter-Smith, JL Smith.