12647314_10156486966990183_4803694312182834010_nThe Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition continues to spotlight the best emerging playwrights with a full production for the competition winner and staged readings for four competition finalists.

Start Down, the 12th competition winner, will premiere on the Hertz Stage Feb. 13 – March 6, with an opening night event on Feb. 18.  Start Down was written by Eleanor Burgess, an MFA student in Dramatic Writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and will be directed by Jeremy Cohen, Producing Artistic Director at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.

The play looks at work, love, and get-rich-quick tech start-ups. Inspired by his girlfriend’s high school teaching career and eager to create a cutting-edge product, software developer Will forms a company dedicated to making online tutorials tailored to individual student needs. It’s a brilliant idea until the program threatens some deeply held beliefs about the student/teacher relationship.

Start Down is as smart as it is contemporary and wears its wisdom cloaked in good humor,” said Alliance Theatre Director of New Projects Celise Kalke. “The play features engaging characters wrestling with the moral complexities of technology in the classroom.”

The four 2015 finalists – Will Arbery, Jennifer Silverman, Hilary Bettis and Nina Braddock – will have their plays  heard in staged readings Feb.y 16 – 18 during the New Play Festival celebrating new work. All readings and events are free and open to the public. Reservations for the readings are preferred and can be made by calling the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at (404) 733-5000 or visit alliancetheatre.org.

Over the past twelve years, the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition has been supported by a gift from the Kendeda Fund. Other supporters of the competition include The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Edgerton New American Plays Award, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.



Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.