Former Kentucky Artistic Director Wins Wyoming National Theatre Essay Competition

May 21, 2010

Curt L. Tofteland, a producer, director, actor, playwright, writer and educator based in Holland, Mich., has won the University of Wyoming's national 2010 Amy & Eric Burger Essays on Theatre Competition.

The winning essay, "Shakespeare Goes to Prison Holding the Transformative Mirror up to Nature: Responsibility, Forgiveness & Redemption," was selected for the $2,500 annual prize. The head of the national adjudicating team, Jim Volz, president, Consultants for the Arts, says, "The essay helps explain the healing powers of the arts and the transformative potential of theatre on men who dwell in obscurity on the fringe of society."

Tofteland is best known as the creative force featured in the award-winning independent film, "Shakespeare Behind Bars" and the longtime producing artistic director of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival (1989-2008). He conducts residencies, workshops, and master classes at theaters and universities throughout country.

The 2009-2010 competition included entries from throughout the United States.

"This nationally-advertised competition sparked entries from throughout America and it's marvelous that Mr. Tofteland's notable body of work has been captured so eloquently on paper for all time," notes Gracie Lawson-Borders, UW College of Arts and Sciences associate dean.

"The 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," says Lawson-Borders. Unpublished essays may range from 1,800-7,500 words.

The program is offered through a special endowment to UW's College of Arts and Sciences to honor Amy and Eric Burger. For more information, e-mail Lawson-Borders at


Find us on Instagram (Link opens a new window)Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)Find us on LinkedIn (Link opens a new window)Find us on YouTube (Link opens a new window)