Whitehead gift gets creative juices flowing

Thanks to generous University of Lethbridge alumnus, Terry Whitehead (BA '94), students have the opportunity to flex their creative writing muscles and possibly win fame and fortune.

Whitehead provides $5,000 in prize money to support the annual Play Right Prize and Striking Prose competition to encourage excellence and development in student playwriting and short story writing.

When the 2012 winners were asked why they participated in this competition they all answered the same way – because they love to write.

Plays Prose winners
Pictured here are the winners from the Play Right Prize and Striking Prose competition. Back row from left are Cole Olson and Christopher Wallace. Front from left are Lori-Ann Steward, Kristine Saretsky, Makambe Simamba and Chelsea Woolley.

The first place prize in the Striking Prose category went to English major Kristine Saretsky for her short story The Persephone Games. The three member jury, made up of Department of English faculty, Dr. Kiki Benzon, Dr. Maureen Hawkins and Dr. Jay Gamble, conclude Saretsky's story is a moving read that is part mystery, part dream and entirely entrancing. What is left unsaid defines the story and is most terrifying.

First place for the Play Right Prize went to Makambe Simamba, a BFA Drama major, for her play MUD, which speaks to contemporary Canadian issues in a powerful and poetic way. The jury included Meg Braem, an award-winning playwright and drama faculty member; alumni Andy Jenkins (BFA '07), Empress Theatre's summer program director; and Estelle Shook, the former artistic director of British Columbia's nationally acclaimed Caravan Farm Theatre. With a record number of submissions, the jurors were impressed with the high degree of imagination demonstrated by the student playwrights.

Both first prize winners receive $1,500 and the opportunity to share their winning entries at a public reading on Thursday, Mar. 15 at 7 p.m. in the David Spinks Theatre. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend. The evening includes a reception and cash bar.

Second place in the Play Right competition went to Chelsea Woolley for her script 1000 Names, which had rich, vivid characters and timeless potent themes. Third place went to Cole Olson for his play Patriarch, a work that takes a personal and intimate approach to the classic family drama. They receive awards of $750 and $250 respectively.

Because the quality was so high, this year's Striking Prose jurors found it too hard to decide on a second and third place story, so two second prize awards were presented to Christopher Wallace for his story Alex and to Lori-Ann Steward for her submission Marionette.

Wallace and Steward split the second and third prize awards and each receive $500.

This story first appeared in the March 2012 issue of the Legend. For a look at the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.