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Play showcase

A scene from 2016 rehearsals for the Northern Arizona Playwriting Showcase.

Small windows of time will open up to big characters and dramatic world-building as the Northern Arizona Playwriting Showcase readies to launch another 10-minute play contest — with this marking the 10th anniversary of the annual theater festival.

This Monday, the playwriting showcase, known by its shorthand NAPS, will open the contest to all playwrights local and beyond to compete for a chance to have their play produced. In past years, the showcase has featured seven plays. This year, for the anniversary, it will award 10 plays with a coveted slot.

One of those positions is reserved for young scribe, open to eighth to tenth graders in Arizona schools. Rules and guidelines are posted and submissions are accepted at Entry fees apply for all but the high school participants.

“Since our first showcase, NAPS has seen tremendous growth,” said co-director Ann Cummins, a creative writing professor at Northern Arizona University. The showcase is a partnership between NAU English and Theatrikos. “We receive submissions from playwrights throughout the United States and beyond. But over the years, Flagstaff and northern Arizona writers have done very well in our contest.”

She added, “Last year, Flagstaff writer Tom Marcinko won a spot in the showcase for his play ‘A Team Building Exercise,’ and in 2015, six out of seven of the finalists came from northern Arizona.”

Co-director Linda Sutera, a veteran member of the Theatrikos Thespian Community, is particularly excited for the young-playwright inclusion in the contest. She and others are hoping for a large number of submissions from the schools.

“We’ve begun doing special outreach to younger playwrights,” Sutera said. “Angele Anderfuren is our high school coordinator. She’s been working with the kids at BASIS, encouraging them to submit plays. We hope to generate interest among all the area high schools.”

The NAPS mission is to encourage new plays by novice and seasoned playwrights, to provide acting and directing opportunities for new and experienced dramatists, and to celebrate new work at the Doris Harper White Community Theater in Flagstaff.

Each year, three professional artists, thespians and educators in the Flagstaff area read anonymous submissions and finalize the winning lineup. This year’s panel of judges includes Becky Daggett, Larry Hendricks and John “JT” Tannous.

The contest is open from May 1 through July 1, and the showcase will be held Sept. 8-10 at Theatrikos. Directors and actors pull together dramatic “on-book” readings of the winning plays.

NAPS organizers will hold a free playwriting workshop at the Doris Harper White Theater on Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to noon. Members of the public are invited to bring drafts of new work to workshop. Get more information at


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