Northwestern theatre student invited to attend national playwriting program

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Northwestern theatre student invited to attend national playwriting program

June 16, 2010

 Ashlynn Walker
Ashlynn Walker

Ashlynn Walker, a Perryton, Texas, senior at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, has been accepted into the 2010 Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive program in Washington, D.C. This year the program had a record-number of applications with more than 200 applying for this opportunity. Out of the 200 applicants, only 60 are accepted with 40 placed into the Primary Program.

Walker is one of 40 participants in the Primary Program who will take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity, and will spend July 9-17 in Washington, D.C.

This 10-day playwriting intensive at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is available for university students, faculty and professionals from across the country.

The program consists of rigorous writing workshops and discussions of the art, craft and business of playwriting. As a participant in the Primary Program, Walker will have the chance to work with some of the most respected theatre artists in the country.

In the Primary Program, Walker will meet artistic directors, producers, literary managers and stage directors. Besides being busy with workshops, she will spend her time in one-on-one advising sessions with instructors and peer review sessions.

“It’s a testimony of her ability to be accepted to a national playwriting program,” said Kimberly Weast, associate professor of theater.

“Considering we don’t have a playwriting course at Northwestern, Ashlynn’s ability was proven by being selected to participate in this program.”

The summer playwriting intensive was designed to reach out to playwrights throughout the country and offer training that would be helpful to all playwrights, regardless of their experience and education.

The Intensive will be led by Gary Garrison, program director. Judges were searching for those writers who clearly have had training and have a firm grasp on certain elements of dramatic writing, and those writers who may or may not have had training, yet clearly demonstrate talent but need a stronger base foundation in dramatic writing.

Walker applied for the program in March. She submitted a letter of intent, a writing resume and a 10-page writing sample, as well as the application. Walker applied after she heard about the opportunity from Weast.

“Her information was submitted and judged against many professional and famous playwrights,” Weast said. This will be a great experience for her.”

Walker found out through Facebook that she is one of the youngest two participants invited to attend this year’s Intensive, an idea that both scares and excites her.

“I couldn't have done this without Weast’s help and support,” Walker said. “She is always looking for ways for her students to learn more, expanding their educational horizons and investing in their futures.”

Walker said that even in northwestern Oklahoma at a state university, anyone can receive an honor such as this.

“To have this amazing opportunity presented to me is beyond anything I expected when I applied,” Walker said. “I am more than ready to prove myself, and let them know that they didn't make a mistake in choosing me.”

“I’m proud she took the challenge I threw at her,” Weast said. I’m ecstatic she was accepted.”