March 9-14, Theatre UAB presents 12th annual Festival of 10-Minute Plays

10 minute2This year the festival includes six new plays written by students, plus one written by Shackleford commemorating the Voting Rights Act’s 50th anniversary.

10 minute2A collection of new, short plays will be performed for the first time on any stage when the University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Theatre presents its 12th annual Festival of 10-Minute Plays from March 9-14.

Brevity is the soul of cutting-edge comedy and drama in this yearly festival of original work, all created within the Department of Theatre. Founded and produced by Assistant Professor Lee Shackleford, it is a rollercoaster theatrical experience audiences are certain to remember.

Shows will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 9-13 and 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14, in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. These plays often contain adult language and themes. All tickets are $5; arrive early as the festival performances nearly always sell out. For tickets, call 205-975-2787 or visit Theatre UAB online at

This year the festival includes six new plays written by students, plus one written by Shackleford in commemoration of this year’s 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Shackleford teaches several scriptwriting classes, and each year the process begins in the spring semester, when his students learn the art and craft of writing super-short comedies and dramas. A 10-minute play is not a skit or a scene, he says; it must have everything that a longer play has, but without the luxury of time.

Students may write as many as 25 plays before the spring term is over, but only a few are going to be produced, Shackleford says.

“I liken it to a photographer’s taking thousands of pictures in the hopes of getting that one perfect shot,” Shackleford said. “We also want each festival to offer a balance. We don’t want an evening of all comedies or all tragedies, or eight nonrealistic pieces, or eight topical plays. So it can get very complicated when it comes time to choose.”

By the following January, the plays are cast and actors, directors and designers begin the work of bringing the scripts to life. Every aspect of each play must be ready at the same time, a logistical effort that requires precise choreography. For the playwrights, the final product brings the thrill of seeing and hearing their words brought to life on the stage.

Rachel Walsh of Johns Creek, Georgia, is stage manager for all of the festival’s plays.

This year’s plays are:

  • “The Reason,” written by Brenna Clark of Dogtown and directed by Shackleford of Gardendale. Starring Chandler Jimmerson of Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Scottye Moore of Oxford; and Austin Yates of Jackson, Mississippi.
  • "Blackest Day,” written by Eric Kaemmerer of Hoover and directed by Shackleford. Starring Daisean Garrett of Childersburg, John Kennedy of Pelham, Bethany Maldon of Trussville and Ella Smitherman of Birmingham.
  • “Micro-Love,” written by Lorraine Singh of Birmingham and directed by Bliss Bailey of Tuscaloosa. Starring Meredith Busby of Fairhope; Felix Crutcher of Huntsville; Amyna Price of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Wesley Wright of Huntsville.
  • "Two Kinds of Tired," written by Shackleford and directed by Victoria J. Morales of Priceville. Starring Clay Boyce of Mobile, Carron Clem of Decatur, Kenya Mims of Huntsville and Noah Parsons of Pell City.
  • “An Appeal,” written by Emmett Christolear of Tuscaloosa and directed by UAB Assistant Professor of Theatre Jack Cannon of Atlanta, Georgia. Starring Alex Ingram of Birmingham.
  • “True Patriot,” written by Kimberly Jade Tompkins of Vestavia Hills and directed by Department of Theatre Program Manager Mel Christian of Northport. Starring Bailey, Boyce, Christolear and Noah Duffy of Atlanta, Georgia.
  • "Rewind!” with book and lyrics by Clem and music by Alora King of Boonsboro, Maryland; directed by Christian. Starring Moore, Yates, Irina Seale of Greenville and Blake Tanner of Corner.