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Release date: Nov. 7, 2000
Contact: Deb Hammacher, Assistant Director, 404-727-0644, or

Emory Student Wins Statewide Playwriting Competition

Emory freshman Lauren Gunderson is the winner the statewide Essential Playwriting Award for her first full-length play, "Parts They Call Deep." Gunderson's script was chosen from more than 50 entries to win the competition exclusively for Georgia writers sponsored by the Essential Theatre.

As winner of the competition, Gunderson will receive a $300 cash prize and her play will be produced as part of the 2001 Festival of New American Theatre, a three-play repertory to be produced at PushPush Theatre from Jan. 6—Feb. 5. "Parts They Call Deep" will be directed by former Emory student Lee Nowell.

Gunderson is a native of Decatur and an alumna of Decatur High School. Her play is a comic drama about a teenage girl's trip through the South in a Winnebago with her mother and grandmother. Along the way, amidst their fights and attempts at mutual understanding, they are visited by the spirits of important people in their lives. A short play of Gunderson's was presented as part of Horizon Theater's New South Young Playwrights' Festival. She has been acting professionally since her early teens for theaters including the Alliance and Actor's Express, and she just completed her appearance in a run of Theater Emory's "Back to Methuselah."

Essential Theatre is an independent company that has been dedicated to producing new and challenging plays in Atlanta since 1987. They have presented the world premieres of local writers Karen Wurl ("Only Children"), Karla Jennings ("Images In Smoke") and Peter Hardy ("A Lovely Undertow").

For more information on the Essential Theatre or its playwriting competition, call 404-876-8471.

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