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Festival playwrights see work performed on stage—and on screen

The 2013 Agnes Nixon Festival takes place this weekend. Sponsored by Agnes Nixon (C44), the creator of All My Children and One Life to Live who is widely known as the First Lady of Daytime Television, the festival celebrates the emerging writing talent of School of Communication students.

And, starting this year, in addition to having their work staged at the two-day festival on campus, festival winners are also given the chance to write a script for All My Children.

The iconic soap opera recently moved from ABC and has become a weekday Web series on Prospect Park’s The Online Network.

This year’s festival winners—Emily Acker (C13), Hilary Flynn (C14), and Benjamin Sullivan-Knoff (C15)—collaborated on a script that they will get see air later this summer.

The cast of the re-launched All My Children, along with creator and writer Agnes Nixon (center, seated).
The cast of the re-launched All My Children, along with creator and writer Agnes Nixon (center, seated).

This is a terrific opportunity for our students to experience the rigors of writing for television,” said School of Communication playwriting professor Laura Schellhardt. “Interacting with the production team for ‘All My Children’ under the same parameters and time constraints facing professional writer’s rooms is a privilege, and we’re honored to tackle a project so close to Ms. Nixon’s heart. The project has also afforded us the opportunity to bring more guest artists to campus this quarter, which benefits the entire Agnes Nixon Festival team of undergraduate directors, actors and dramaturgs as well.”

In the meantime, the work that made them this year’s winners will be given staged readings at the Mussetter-Struble Theater in the Theatre and Interpretation Center at this year’s Agnes Nixon Festival: Emily Acker’s The Matter of Nadiyah Hassan on Saturday, May 18th at 8:00pm; Benjamin Sullivan-Knoff’s As: A Sonata on Sunday, May 19th at 3:00pm; and Hilary Flynn’s Helix on Sunday, May 19th, at 8:00pm. All performances are free and open to the public. The Mussetter-Struble Theater is located in the Theatre and Interpretation Center, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston.