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Notre Dame College’s performing arts programs will present the five finalists in the College’s second annual New Play Festival with a series of free, daily in-person and remote readings from March 15-19.

The College received more than 400 original works for young adults from playwrights around the world for the 2021 Notre Dame Performing Arts New Play Festival. The final scripts feature a team of teens who explore federal holidays, a detective story based on the fictional characters of Alice from Wonderland and Peter Pan in Neverland; a group of special needs students who break stereotypes for learning differences, a Greek god version of a reality show and a science fiction take on a boot camp for troubled teens.

A different play will be presented each evening at 8 p.m. From Monday, March 15, through Friday, March 19, both in-person in Regina Auditorium on the College campus and streamed live on the Performing Arts YouTube channel. The winner will be chosen by the selection panel, with consideration given to an audience vote, and announced upon the conclusion of the Festival.

The winner of the Notre Dame Performing Arts New Play Festival will receive a $500 prize and a fully developed and produced show as part of the spring 2021 semester season at the College. The Notre Dame Theatre New Play Festival is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

The festival readings utilizing students and faculty from the Notre Dame performing arts department and Mercury Theatre Company company members will take place in person at Regina Auditorium at the College. Masks must be worn, and physical distancing will be in place. No reservations are needed, but no late admittance will be allowed. The readings also will be streamed live on the Performing Arts YouTube Channel each evening. Both are free and open to the public.

The schedule of readings and synopses of each play follow:

Monday, March 15
Every Day’s a Holiday
By Phil Vassallo

The lives of six teenagers, all close friends who call themselves the Scheme Team, unfold in 10 scenes set on the core theme of 10 federal holidays. The action takes place at the end of their junior year and beginning of their senior year in high school.

Tuesday, March 16
Alice In Neverland
By Maggie Lou Rader

Alice in Neverland is a literary mashup, crime caper mystery for audiences of all ages. Join Alice, the best detective in Wonderland, who takes the case when Tinkerbell and Peter’s Shadow hire her to solve the mystery of Peter Pan’s disappearance. Upon arriving in Neverland, Alice finds that without Peter, time has been thrust forward, leaving Neverland in perpetual winter. The Lost Kids are growing up (and running off to invest in stock market) and the mermaids lament about being stuck in winter (left to steal crab-shmere blankets from fish). Will Alice find Peter before he grows up? Will time be restored in Neverland? Will Captain Hook ever be picked for the hockey team? This mashup of everyone’s favorite childhood stories will have your audiences laughing, cheering, and using critical thinking skills to help Alice decipher clues and crack the case.

Wednesday, March 17
The Dummy Class
By Dave Osmundsen

Ted writes poems. Elizabeth tells jokes. Gina dances. Marcus conducts. With the Nockaquan Elementary School Talent Show coming up, these four special needs children are determined to show everyone that they are more than just the dummy class.

Thursday, March 18
Gaea’s Great Greek Gabfest
By Conrad Dewitt

On the day of her one millionth episode, Gaea, the indisputable mother of all living things and host of the eternally-popular “Great Greek Gab Fest” attempts to settle the score with her grandson Zeus and his noisy bride, Hera. Zeus has other plans, but this is live T.V. and anything can happen when Gaea and her roster of A-list immortals take the mic. It’s Lightning bolts, Camera, Action!

Friday, March 19
Clean Slate
By David White

When Andi’s foster mothers are no longer able to discipline her, she is sent to a controversial “boot camp” for troubled teens called “Clean Slate.” There, she meets a number of other campers including an infamous online troll, a non-binary petty thief, a by-the-book athlete and a brilliant science student who also happens to be a pyromaniac. Even more troubling for Andi, is that the woods appear to be haunted. One night, Andi strikes up a conversation with a mysterious voice emanating from a pile of rocks. She discovers that the voice belongs to a young woman named Cassie who ran away from the Clean Slate program years earlier and has been lost ever since. As the weeks go on, the campers discover that the owners of Clean Slate (a mysterious group called “The Collective”) have decided to build containment centers on the campsite so that incoming campers can never leave. The campers’ only hope of escape depends on finding the lost Cassie and decoding a message hidden in the night sky.

About the Festival

The Notre Dame Performing Arts New Play Festival, started in fall 2019, is the first contest of its kind solely dedicated to new theatrical works for children and young adult audiences in the Midwest. With the program, the College joins the ranks of elite, Division I colleges for unproduced works.

The College called for submissions of full-length plays or musicals for children or young adults without a prior production. Dramas, comedies and farces with or without music were welcome as long as they were appropriate for audiences of all ages. Plays that can be effectively cast within the Northeast Ohio market were to be considered favorably.

By utilizing the talents of Notre Dame students, Mercury Theatre professional actors and additional regional artists in reading the finalists and producing the winner, the event allows the College to further its efforts of utilizing the stage as a platform to educate, enlighten and entertain the greater Cleveland community.

Additional information about Notre Dame’s academic and co-curricular performing arts programs is available online. Email performingarts@ndc.edu for details.

March 2021
Notre Dame Performing Arts contributed to this article.

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information, contact pr@ndc.edu.