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New play festival at Keene State

Keene State Theatre actors (from left) Arienne Stearns, PeggyRae Johnson, and Katherine Wadleigh will perform in Thanksgiving by Taylor Jorgensen
Keene State Theatre actors (from left) Arienne Stearns, PeggyRae Johnson, and Katherine Wadleigh will perform in Thanksgiving by Taylor Jorgensen

Keene State Theatre and Dance Presents the Premiere Series New Play Festival in October

The Keene State College Theatre and Dance Department will present a new play festival called The Premiere Series from October 3 to 24. The Premiere Series consists of four original plays written by Keene State students with each play to be performed twice as a staged reading as follows:

  • Thanksgiving by Taylor Jorgensen on Thursday and Friday, October 3 and 4;
  • The Speck in My Eye by Sarah Croitoru on Wednesday and Thursday, October 9 and 10;
  • Love, Life and Liberty by Hersch Rothmel on Wednesday and Thursday October 16 and 17;
  • Bigfoot by Daniel Bullard on Wednesday and Thursday, October 23 and 24.

All plays begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Wright Theatre of the Redfern Arts Center on the KSC campus. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and youth, and $6 for Keene State students. KSC students, who wish to see all four plays, may purchase a 4-play package for $8. For tickets, call the Box Office at 603-358-2168 or visit

The Premiere Series, begun in 1989, is a new-play development program that is a part of the Theatre and Dance Department’s production series. This year’s festival was a competition among 24 KSC students enrolled in the spring 2013 Playwriting class taught by Professor Daniel Patterson.

I’m the sole judge and jury who decides what plays will be in the festival,” said Patterson, who started the Premiere Series after attending a Playwright’s Forum of one-act plays in Colorado several decades ago. He bases his decision on how well written the play is and if it is developed enough for a staged reading.

“A stage reading, in which actors are reading from the script, focuses on hearing the play with actors interpreting the characters and playing off each other,” explained Patterson. Staging is minimal because the focus is on hearing the play and allowing the playwright to make changes to the play as he sees fit during rehearsals.

The unique feature of The Premiere Series is that it gives students a chance to experience the process of developing and producing original work. Students who pursue careers in theatre will eventually be asked to participate in workshops and showcases and even full productions of new work.

“It is the guiding philosophy of The Premiere Series that new plays and new playwrights will comprise the theatre of the future. If we want to contribute to the development of the future of theatre, we’d better be encouraging and stimulating our young people to participate in the creation of new plays,” said Patterson.

Many actors, who include KSC faculty, staff and community members as well as students, were cast in more than one of plays to be presented during The Premiere Series.

Performing in Bigfoot by Daniel Bullard are Bailey Ramsdell, Daniel Bullard, Doug Wilcox (faculty), Kristen Bixby, Mikhail Laurentyev, Arienne Stearns, Megan Pereira, and Natalie Kocurek.

Actors in The Speck in My Eye by Sarah Croitoru are Danielle Roberts, Emma Smith, Abby Darin, Kim Dupuis (faculty), Daniel Bullard, Daniel Patterson (faculty), Cara Gerardi, and Hersch Rothmel.

Performing in Thanksgiving by Taylor Jorgensen are Cara Gerardi, Arienne Stearns, Daniel Bullard, Katherine Wadleigh, William Howell (staff), PeggyRae Johnson (faculty), Alex Davis, Hersch Rothmel, and Natalie Kocurek.

Actors in Love, Loss, and Liberty by Hersch Rothmel are Mackenzie Klem, Katherine Wadleigh, Doug Wilcox (faculty), Daniel Patterson (faculty), Megan Pereira, Daniel Bullard, and Kim Dupuis (faculty).

About Keene State Theatre and Dance Department

The Department of Theatre and Dance is dedicated to providing a comprehensive course of study that balances theory and practice within a sound liberal arts education. The collaborative nature of theatre and dance disciplines fosters an atmosphere in which students work closely with peers and faculty to gain practical experience in all facets or production and critical engagement. As artists and teachers, our primary focus is to encourage and guide our students as they find their creative voices and experience and question the world through the arts. For more information about the Theatre and Dance Department, visit [ or call 603-358-2162]( or call 603-358-2162).

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435