BRIEFS: A Festival Of Short LGBT Plays Returns To St. Louis This Weekend

 In Culture

Vital VOICE in partnership with That Uppity Theatre Company presents BRIEFS: A Festival of Short LGBT Plays.

Photo courtesy of Vital VOICE.

Photo courtesy of Vital VOICE.

We’re excited for the return of Briefs this weekend, March 27, 28 and 29, at the Centene Center for the Arts. The festival will be moving to its new, bigger venue at the invitation of the Executive Director of the Arts and Education Council, Cynthia Prost, who has been an attendee and admirer of Briefs since its beginning four years ago.

The idea of Briefs, developed by co-producer and artistic director Joan Lipkin stemmed from noticing there was not enough representation of LGBT work in St. Louis. In addition to shining light on LGBT work in the area, Lipkin is an avid fan of the short play format that Briefs takes on. In the long run, Lipkin hopes material from Briefs will lead to a published anthology of work that will further contribute to the fields of dramatic literature and LGBT studies.

Photo courtesy of Vital VOICE.

Photo courtesy of Vital VOICE.

For the 2015 festival, Briefs introduced the Ken Haller Playwriting Competition for LGBT and Allied Youth. Named for Ken Haller, a pediatrician, performer and passionate gay activist, this contest provides a cash prize of $250 to the winning young playwright and production of their work in the festival. Ken Haller’s work has contributed greatly to young people and the LGBT community. Lipkin hopes that the competition will build a strong relationship with a younger audience and encourage them to be more involved. She has hopes to extend that reach to high school students, in addition to college students next year by working with area teachers to offer opportunities for students to write short plays.

John Schmidt, this year’s winner and senior Nemerov scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, says, “I am beyond honored to be selected as the winner of the inaugural Ken Haller Playwriting Contest and can’t wait to see my play, ‘A Little Splash of Brandy,’ produced alongside work I respect and admire so much.” Schmidt, who attended Briefs for the first time last year was, “astounded by the quality and diversity of experiences depicted.”

Briefs’ themes this year will include a gay mermaid searching for love, the stresses of sexual identity for LGBT adolescents and a lesbian version of Dr. Seuss. The festival will also include works by nationally recognized playwrights Paul Rudnick and Wendy MacLeod.

Briefs’ performances will be held Friday and Saturday, March 27-28 at 8pm and Sunday, March 29 at 2pm. A complimentary senior brunch will be featured on Sunday before the final matinee. Tickets prices are $18 in advance and $23 at the door and can be purchased online.

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