By: Christian Downes
Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Stacey Isom was nationally recognized for her playwriting. “California Dreamin’” was deemed a finalist in the EstroGenius Festival and “On the 8s” was selected to The Great Plains Theatre Conference (2012).
With “California Dreamin’” Isom was selected as one of 15 finalists from nearly 300 submitters to the EstroGenius Festival at the Manhattan Theatre Source in New York City.
Volunteer run, the EstroGenius Festival is one of New York City’s largest women’s arts festivals.
According to the New York Times, EstroGenius “lives up to its billing as a celebration of women’s work.”
Isom’s “On the 8s” was one of 30 plays chosen from over 600 entries to the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, Neb. and received a staged reading this past May.
“I had a wonderful director, Becky Key Boesen, and a truly fantastic cast,” shared Isom. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of artists to work with on my play. There is something exciting about working with other artists; it becomes something bigger than you because it requires other artists.”
The conference hosted playwrights from New York City, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and from all over the country. “I got to meet a lot of playwrights,” Isom said. “I learned so much in workshops led by well-known playwrights Rebecca Gilman, Constance Congdon, and Sibyl Kempson.”
The Great Plains Theatre Conference (GPTC) affords playwrights and theatre artists the opportunity to share time, energy and talent in developing the craft, creating new work and strengthening community. GPTC seeks to recognize the work of renowned American playwrights while fostering the work of new and emerging ones.
Isom said, “It was good to see what’s being written right now from so many creative playwrights doing great things.”
Third Course: Theater (TCT) of Austin, Texas, with whom Isom has been working for three years, plans to produce “On the 8s” this coming summer.
“Theater is about relationships,” Isom said. “And TCT has done more for my work than anyone else. I’m thrilled at the prospect of working with this wonderful group of artists again. It’s in these long-term collaborations that truly great theater is created.”
In her college years, Isom wrote fiction and screenplays. She said, “I came about playwriting in a circuitous manner, not in the traditional way; I wrote fiction, and was later encouraged to try screenplays.” When Isom attended Regent University for graduate studies, she was “adopted” by the theater department. “I fell in love with theater, and it still fits the way I see the world. I love the community of it.”
Isom is the instructor for Lee’s Introduction to Playwriting and Advanced Playwriting courses, as well as courses in screen writing.
“I’d encourage any creative writer to take a playwriting course. You learn about structure, voice, and audience. There’s immediate feedback; it’s a formidable place to learn about who you are as a writer.”
Isom joined the Department of Language and Literature at Lee University as an assistant professor of creative writing in 2007. She received an MFA in Script and Screenwriting from Regent University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Old Dominion University, where she was the recipient of a teaching assistantship, as well as the David Scott Sutelan Memorial Award.
Isom’s plays include “Letters to John Lennon,” “Touching Aurora,” “Smokin’ Devils,” “California Dreamin’”,” “On the 8’s,” “Dough & Cookies,” among others. Her work has been seen or won awards at The Barter Theatre, the Playwright’s Theater (Dallas), Pittsburgh New Works Festival, L.A. First Stage, Third Course: Theatre (Austin), and elsewhere.
Isom is also a Fellow of The Hambidge Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico.
PHOTO (Courtesy of Sara Renee)