All of the plays in the festival are written, directed and acted by students, staff and faculty from the University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Theatre. The festival is known for plays that are smart, edgy, shrewd, shocking and often hilarious.
Six of the seven plays this year are written by students. The seventh, written by J. Marc Quattlebaum, the department’s properties master, “is a full-tilt slapstick farce,” Shackleford said.
This year’s plays are all about women, Shackleford says. The plays are:
- “An Absolute Rose” by Ella Grace Smitherman, directed by student Spencer Webb
- “To Make Love Known” by Benjamin Lundy, directed by Karla Koskinen
- “The Deal” by Pierce Alexander Edwards, directed by Shackleford
- “Visual Art 101” by Brady Grimm, directed by student Holly Morgan
- “Gratitude for Disservice” by Bliss Bailey, directed by Shackleford
- “Knock, Knock” by Michael Cooper, directed by Webb
- “The Vase” by J. Marc Quattlebaum, directed by Mel Christian
Founded and directed by Associate Professor Lee Shackleford, the festival began in 2003 in his playwriting class. He had read about the ground-breaking festival of 10-minute plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville and wondered if Theatre UAB could do it. After the first festival was well-received, demand was great to do it again, despite the intensive effort and skill required to pull it off. The result has been more than 100 entirely new and original short plays, performed for standing-room-only audiences.
From the first drafts of the scripts to opening night, the festival takes nearly nine months of preparation.
“Every year, we take on a new challenge, something we haven’t tried before, and that’s thrilling,” Shackleford said. “What I usually tell people is that a 10-minute play has to do everything a full-length play would do, only without the luxury of time.”