List of Valley Players Playwright Award Winners
2022 Winner: Without Further Ado
by Kelly Burr of Guilford, Vermont
A modern adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, the play finds the Shaw family and friends gathering for Emily's wedding at The Haven-By-The-Sea Resort on the Cape. When the bride is accused of cheating on her finace by a jealous cousin, the plans for a perfect wedding weekend get derailed. With some help from the ever-bickering Maid of Honor and Best Man, the nosy hotel staff, and modern technology, the truth might just come to light.
About the Playwright
Kelly Burr is an emerging talent who burst onto the New York playwriting scene in 2021 with ‘Her Mistress,’ a shortlist finalist in the New York Classical Theatre New Visions contest, and her short play ‘On Your Side’ was a finalist in the SOOP to Nuts Short Play Festival. Kelly has been working in the performing arts for over thirty years. While her background is primarily in performance, directing, and producing, she’s also worked professionally as a technical director, stagehand, costumer, lighting and sound technician, carpenter, stage manager and scenic designer. Future 2022 production plans include her full-length play ‘If We Really Were Witches,’ a comedy about the witch hunts, and another full-length comedy, ‘The Losing of Long Lost Cardenio.’ In 2019, she was awarded her M.A. in Shakespeare and Theatre (with a focus on protofeminism and gender roles in Shakespeare) from The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, Stratford-Upon-Avon, U.K. She is a proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild and lives on a gorgeous farm in Guilford, Vermont with her musician beau, Kris.
2021 Winner: Dance Again
by Tucker Atwood of Belfast, Maine
The story takes place in the living room of an old house on the border of a warzone between two nations. Though it’s set in a fictional world, it is one that could very well be real. Place and time are intentionally non-specific, but it feels like the early to mid-1900’s. Soldiers from opposing sides arrive at the house seeking refuge from a bitter storm and ongoing battle. The hosts do their best to remain neutral and keep the strangers from learning the true identities of their fellow house guests.
About the Playwright
Tucker Atwood grew up in a small town called Embden, Maine, and is currently based in the coastal town of Belfast, Maine. He is relatively new to playwriting but has spent the last 10 years or so falling in love with theater via acting. He has performed in over 40 productions with five different theater companies in Maine, and in 2019 performed "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged]" with the Middlebury Community Players in nearby Middlebury, Vermont. That was his second most interesting feat in 2019; earlier that year, he thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail with his brother, successfully walking 2200 miles through the woods in a little under 4 months, surviving primarily on peanut butter and ramen noodles. A year later, he wrote a memoir of his thru-hike titled "No Parents No Horses No Bedtime." He has also written poetry, more plays, a critical analysis of the education system, and two other books: "Lights Up.," a theater memoir, and "Also, I'm an Ant," a novel about an ant who discovers a way to communicate with humans. His plans for 2021 include acting in three shows this summer at Lakewood Theater in Madison, Maine -- including portraying the title role in the satirical British comedy "Bullshot Crummond" -- and riding his bicycle from Maine to Florida this fall along the East Coast Greenway. He is also a math teacher and tutor sometimes, when he needs the money. He would like to thank his family for being his friends and his friends for being his family.
2020 Winner: Unicorn from the Stars
by David John Preece of Manchester, New Hampshire
The play is a fictionalized story about the poet/writer Sylvia Plath during her time living in England,
and her friendship with one of her neighbors. With permission of the playwright, the Valley Players filmed a production of this play in November, 2020. Watch the show HERE
About the Playwright
Preece received education and theatre/film training at University of Wisconsin-Madison, HB Studios and Playwrights Horizons in New York City, American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and University of California/Los Angeles. His plays Charles Dickens’ Ghost Stories, The House of the Seven Gables, and Tender have all been winners of Best Play given by the New Hampshire Theatre Awards, and his short film, Lunch with Eddie, which he wrote, directed, and produced, was shown at over thirty international film festivals and won several awards including Best Short Film and Best Director.