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Holly Griffith Wins University of Wyoming National Theatre Essay Competition

May 8, 2014

The University of Wyoming College of Arts and Sciences has named Holly Rebecca Griffith of Sammamish, Wash., as the winner of the 2014 National Amy and Eric Burger Essays on Theatre Competition.

The award, for the best essay written in English on any aspect of drama or the theatre, carries a $2,500 prize.

Her essay, “Through the Lens of Apartheid: The Shifting of Perspectives for Sizwe Bansi is Dead,” was selected in the national competition adjudicated by a team led by Jim Volz, Consultants for the Arts president.

“Referencing the terrors of apartheid and the universality of the theatre, this essay offers a riveting overview of two productions of one of the world’s leading playwrights, Athol Fugard,” Volz says.

A junior at the University of Washington, Griffith studies dramatic performance as well as legal and sociological studies with a focus on environmental sustainability. Also a performer, she believes that “one of the most important things about the dramatic arts is the opportunity for the experience to impact individuals and communities. Performance can allow its audience, however briefly, to look through another's eyes and see the world the way they do. It has the unique ability to give people a common ground -- a place to stand to understand others (no matter how different) from a place of empathy.”

Robert A. Schuhmann, UW College of Arts and Sciences associate dean, says the nationally advertised competition sparked entries from throughout America. Unpublished essays may range from 1,800-7,500 words.

“This high-profile University of Wyoming arts competition is intended to inspire students, faculty and theatre and drama professionals to pursue their literary talents, and reward talented authors who write on any aspect of drama or theatre,” Schuhmann says.

Past winners have included the nation’s artistic directors, Dramatists Guild of America members, theatre historians, actors, theatrical directors, playwrights, university faculty, university students and theorists.

The program is offered through a special endowment to the UW College of Arts and Sciences to honor Amy and Eric Burger. For more information, email Schuhmann at

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