Editor, Lee Revis 

Theatre Conference begins in two weeks

Valdez takes center stage for long-running event spotlighting playwrights


The Annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference is coming up on June 14-20.

Now in its twenty-third year, the event draws hundreds of participants yearly. While a majority come from within the state, there are also many participants from the Lower 48 and beyond. The farthest travelers this year include a playwright from Greece and a actor/producer couple from Australia.

The teachers signed up for the program represent some of the best in the country. David Auburn, Pulitzer-winner for his play Proof, is attending for the first time, as is Nan Barnett, the Executive Director of National New Play Network, the country's alliance of more than 75 theaters with a dedication to the development, production, and continued life of new plays ( Laura Gardner and Frank Collison (familiar to fans of Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman and many other Hollywood films and television shows) return for their ninth year, coordinating the ever-popular Monologue Workshop. Returning favorites from prior years include Bostin Christopher, Michael Hood, Guillermo Reyes, and Aoise Stratford. Anchorage-based artist Carrie Yanagawa will return for her second year overseeing the Ten-Minute Play Slam. A full listing of the featured artist staff, along with their biographies, are on-line at

The most important aspect of the event is the Play Lab, which will feature readings of 57 new plays by a cast of 136 actors. Plays receive a single rehearsal before being presented for an audience and three professional respondents. Started in 1995 by Michael Warren Powell, the Lab is the lifeblood of the Conference, providing participants with a part of the event that they can own and call their own.

There will be evening productions from Sunday, June 14, through Thursday, June 18. It starts with an evening that features the Play Lab panelists reading from their own work, giving participants a chance to hear the artistic voices of the people who will be responding to their work.

Monday night, June 15, features Perseverance Theatre's production of An Iliad. The one-man show features powerhouse Alaskan Bostin Christopher, who has presented two solo performance pieces at the Conference in the past. He is musically accompanied by Lucy Peckham.

Tuesday night, June 16, features TBA Theatre presenting William Missouri Downs' romantic comedy Cockeyed. The play was presented in the Play Lab in 2007, and went on to be published by one of the top two play publishers in the country, Samuel French. The production stars Valdez-product Ryan Buen in the lead, and the author will be in attendance.

Wednesday night, June 17, features a truly new form of theatre brought to the state by the Buffalo Laboratory Theatre, Mystery of the Silver Chalice. Audience members will be given electronic devices that will enable them to vote on what actions they would like the lead character to take. The author and producer, Taylor Doherty, attended the Conference in 2008, and is using this performance as a tune-up before they begin a tour throughout the New York-area.

The final night, Thursday, June 18, brings Cyrano's Theatre Company down from Anchorage to present William Shakespeare's Macbeth. This very modern, multimedia-based production stars Mark Robokoff in the title role, and features a cast of the best actors Alaska has to offer.

All shows are only $10, and begin at 8:00. Tickets are available at the door.

David Edgecombe and Elizabeth Ware will be in attendance to respond in the Play Lab and receive the Jerry Harper Service Award. The award, began in 2007, is presented to people who have gone above and beyond in their service to the Conference. Edgecombe and Ware have been participants since 1994, providing many productions for the Conference from the mid-90s through 2004. Long-time Anchorage theatrical workhorses, they will be moving out of state this summer, and the Conference is proud to recognize their major contribution to the Alaskan arts.

For any questions about the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, call 834-1614 or e-mail, or visit During the event itself, call 835-2469.

Photo courtesy PWSCC

Eric T. Miller and Joy Barrett in the 2014 Conference production of Jaclyn Villano's Unanswered We Ride.


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