NKU graduate wins regional collegiate playwriting competition

"Both Hands," a play written by Northern Kentucky University graduate Joyce Evelyn Deaton, won the 2023 Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwrighting Competition, also known as PLAY/write.

The play deals with childhood friends who reconnect as students at the same college and discover new insights about themselves and their lives during a year's worth of shared car rides home.

As part of the award, Deaton's script was presented as a stage reading at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC) on Aug. 6. The writer also received a $2,500 grant from an endowment created by the late theater critic Jackie Demaline as a way to encourage young people to write for the stage.

Lynn MeyersLynn Meyers, producing artistic director of ETC, said, "Jackie would have been very pleased. It's inspiring to see the quality of work being submitted."

Meyers said "Both Hands" was originally submitted to the 2022 contest and won an honorable mention prize. This year, Deaton received permission to resubmit a rewritten version based on comments from the 2022 judges. The panel commented on how well the author had used judges' feedback to elevate the quality of her work.

This year, ETC announced that it has added a full production of the 2022 PLAY/write winner, "The Match Game," by Steven Strafford, to its 2023-24 season. It will run April 13-May 5, 2024. Tickets are on sale now at this link. 
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Margaret A. McGurk is a freelance writer, editor and media consultant. She was film critic for The Cincinnati Enquirer from 1995 to 2005.