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The Second Annual Notre Dame College Performing Arts New Play Festival winner is “Alice in Neverland” by Maggie Lou Rader.

During the College free festival, the five never-before-seen finalists were evaluated by a panel of industry professional and festival participants and through an audience ballot. The three votes were combined and “Alice in Neverland,” a literary mashup of the title character from Wonderland and the story of Peter Pan, was chosen as 2021 festival winner.

A full production of “Alice in Neverland” will be presented as a world premiere scheduled for Saturday, April 24, at the College. Details are forthcoming.

Playwright Maggie Lou Rader will receive a $500 prize courtesy of festival sponsor, Notre Dame Performing Arts. 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.

More than 600 people viewed this year’s five-day festival from March 15-19, during which the original unproduced plays were given staged readings by members of the Notre Dame theatre program. The performances were directed by students under the guidance of Pierre-Jacques Brault, the college’s theatre director and mercury theatre company’s artistic director.

The 2021 event was conducted in person, with masks required, limited attendance and social distancing in place, in Regina Auditorium and broadcast live via the Notre Dame Performing Arts YouTube channel. The readings, including “Alice in Neverland” are available for viewing online.

The five new works for young artists were selected from more than 400 plays and musicals submitted nationwide. In addition to “Alice in Neverland,” the finalists were: “Every Day’s A Holiday” by Phil Vassallo, “The Dummy Class” by Dave Osmundson, “Gaea’s Great Greek Gabfest” by Conrad Dewitt and “Clean Slate” by David White and Kate Brennan.

“Alice in Neverland” is a crime caper mystery for audiences of all ages. Alice, the best detective in Wonderland, 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.

For more information about the Notre Dame College Performing Arts New Play Festival, Notre Dame Performing Arts or Mercury Theatre Company, visit

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