Educating a diverse population in the liberal arts

For personal, professional and global responsibility

In the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame

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Notre Dame College, home to Mercury Theatre Company, will present the finalists in its first ever Performing Arts New Play Festival—Midnite by Reina Hardy, #gunsense by Clarinda Ross and Bunnyboy by Philip Kaplan—and select the winner during Thanksgiving week in 2019.

Students and faculty from the College’s theatre department and performing arts programs will stage readings of one of the top three previously unseen theatrical works relevant to young audiences on Tuesday, November 26, at 7 p.m. and present the other two finalists on Wednesday, November 27, beginning at 5:30 p.m., both in Regina Auditorium on the College campus. The public readings are free and open to the public.

The top play will be chosen by a selection panel, with consideration given to an audience vote, and announced upon the conclusion of the two-day festival. The winner will receive a $500 prize and a fully developed and produced show during the College’s Joan Cronin Regan #NDCPerforms Series for spring 2020.

Notre Dame received 493 submissions from playwrights across the country who entered their unpublished plays into this inaugural Notre Dame Performing Arts New Play Festival earlier this year. All three authors selected as finalists have had others works published or in production.

The 2019 Notre Dame New Play Festival Schedule:

Tuesday, November 26

7 p.m.

Midnite by Reina Hardy

When a group of college film majors venture into the woods to make an ill-advised horror movie, they encounter supernatural forces of love and madness. Based on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Wednesday, November 27

5:30 p.m.

#gunsense by Clarinda Ross

#gunsense” is a series of stories that speak to the heart of America’s gun debate. Stories from today are set against the backdrop of what sensible gun ownership looked like a generation ago. The healthy father/daughter relationship that includes a love of sport-shooting is juxtaposed with non-linear scenes of today’s epidemic of gun violence. The play calls for common sense gun reform without demonizing responsible sportsmen and gun owners.

7 p.m.

Bunnyboy by Philip Kaplan

Through a series of accidents, Peter, a sixth grader, develops superpowers and becomes Bunnyboy. Now what? Peter and his friends Skip and Karen, discover, it’s complicated being a superhero – there’s no manual. And when Bunnyboy has to face an actual super villain, the Animal Master, is he up for the task? And will he get his homework in on time?

About the Festival

This new Notre Dame New Play Festival 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 Penn State, the University of Iowa and the Yale School of Drama as platforms for unproduced works.

Earlier this year, the College called for submissions of full-length plays or musicals for children or young adults without a prior production. Scripts needed to be at least one hour and no longer than 90 minutes with a cast size limited to no less than four or no more than 22. 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.

The festival will utilize the talents of Notre Dame students, Mercury Theatre professional actors and additional regional artists in reading the finalists and producing the winner. In so doing, 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 at Email for details.

October 2019

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 Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or