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SciArts New Play Festival Oct. 20-22, 2019


The 2019 Festival was a tremendous success. Watch this space for the announcement of the 2021 SciArts New Play Festival. 

Announcing the Inaugural LSU SciArts New Play Festival: October 20-22 in the Music & Dramatic Arts Building on the LSU campus. Co-sponsored by the LSU College of Science, the LSU School of Theatre, and the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development, the LSU SciArt New Play Festival will feature staged readings of three new science plays juried from a nationwide call for submissions of plays where science is an extensive part of the story. Each evening will feature one new play and the author of that play along with associated keynote talks on Monday and Tuesday.

190 new science plays  were submitted to LSU’s national solicitation for new science plays. A panel of a dozen theatre and science students and faculty read and ranked the plays to select three new plays for the festival. Playwrights will be flown to Baton Rouge for workshop rehearsals, and through the generosity of LSU Professor George Judy, each playwright will also receive a $1000 playwriting prize. The SciArts New Play Festival will occur immediately after LSU’s Fall Break and all events are open to the LSU and Baton Rouge communities and beyond.

Sunday October 20 will kick off the SciArts New Play Festival with a staged reading of Another Revolution by Jacqueline Bircher and directed by Vastine Stabler. Another Revolution explores the triumphs and tensions between two very different PhD students working side by side as anti-war protests engulf their university campus.

Monday, October 21 will feature a staged reading of The Surest Poison by Kristin Idaszak and directed by George Judy. The Surest Poison tells the story of a murder investigation in a forensics laboratory during the prohibition era.

Tuesday, October 22 will feature a staged reading of Maize by Judith Pratt and directed by Rachel Aker. Maize is about the trials and tribulations of the Nobel Prize winning geneticist Barbara McClintock.

Each evening of the SciArts New Play Festival also features audience response and discussion sessions with the authors of each play. In addition, Monday and Tuesday afternoons includes a Keynote talk; on Monday by Leigh Fondakowski, world renown playwright and author of the play Spill which premiered at Swine Palace Theatre; and on Tuesday by Nina Fedoroff, a world renown geneticist who worked with Barbara McClintock and is depicted as a character in the play Maize.

The exact schedule of the LSU SciArts New Play Festival is as follows:

Sunday, October 20

7 p.m. - Reading of Another Revolution by Jacqueline Bircher
Audience feedback and discussion with Jacqueline Bircher 
Light refreshments

Monday, October 21

4-5:30 p.m. - Keynote talk by Leigh Fondakowski, author of Spill and The Laramie Project
5:30 -7 p.m. - Break
7 p.m. - Reading of The Surest Poison by Kristin Idaszak
Audience feedback and discussion with Kristin Idaszak 
Light refreshments

Tuesday, October 22

4-5:30 p.m. - Keynote talk by Dr. Nina Fedoroff, biologist and National Academy member; former Science Advisor to two Secretaries of State
5:30-7 p.m. -  Break
7 p.m. - Reading of Maize by Judith Pratt
Audience feedback and discussion with Judith Pratt and Dr. Nina Fedoroff
Light refreshments


All events are free and open to all. All events take place in The Music and Dramatic Arts Building 4230 Dalrymple Dr. Baton Rouge LA 70803

About the Playwrights

Jacqueline Bircher is a playwright born and raised in New York City. Plays include Another Revolution, The Once and Future Casey Colman, Webster's Bitch, and The Rule of Thirds. Her short plays Reaction, Thin Ice, and Yesterday Somewhere have been produced in the Detention series at Primary Stages, and her screenwriting work has been featured at the WILDsound Film Festival and recognized by the Creative World Awards and WeScreenplay’s Diverse Voices competition. Jacqueline's plays have been produced and/or developed with Ensemble Studio Theatre, Primary Stages, Market Garden Theatre, the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, Centenary Stage Company, Campfire Theatre Festival, Duluth Playhouse, City Theatre, Naked Angels, the Bechdel Group, and Talk Back Theatre. She studied literature and creative writing at Oxford University and Fordham College at Lincoln Center.

Jacqueline Bircher


Kristin Idaszak, a two-time Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow, has received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award. She was the Shank Playwright in Residence at the Goodman Theatre and a member of the 2017-2018 Goodman Playwrights Unit. She has received commissions from EST/The Sloan Foundation, Cleveland Play House, and Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Kristin is the Artistic Director of Cloudgate Theatre and previously served as Associate Artistic Director/Literary Manager of Caffeine Theatre and Associate Artistic Director of Collaboration. MFA.: UC San Diego.
Kristin Idaszak


Judith Pratt has been an actor, a director and a theatre professor. She has studied playwriting with Lois Weaver, Arthur Kopit, Stuart Spence, Laura Maria Censabella, and Liz Duffy Adams.

Her plays have been produced in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Kansas City MO, Austin TX, and Cape Town South Africa.  Maize was also a Semi-finalist in the 2019 Mach 33: Caltech/Pasadena Playhouse Festival of New Science-Driven Plays and the TRU Play Reading Series in NYC. (TRU=Theatre Resources Unlimited.)

Her novel Siljeea Magic, will be published by Black Rose Writing in October.

Judith Pratt


For more information:

Vastine Stabler, LSU School of Theatre, Email Vastine, 225-578-9277