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USU Student's Play is Produced in Northwest Playwrights Alliance Tour

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013

USU theater arts student Liz Gabbitas

Theater arts student Liz Gabbitas submitted two plays to the Northwest Playwrights Alliance. One is being produced and the other is included in an alliance anthology.

USU theater arts top seniors, Julienne Bailey, Liz Gabbitas, Timothy Roghaar

Gabbitas (center) was recently honored as a top senior in USU's Theatre Arts Department, along with Timothy Roghaar and Julienne Bailey during the Grand Gala Celebration that concluded Arts Week on the USU campus.

Utah State University student Liz Gabbitas casually entered two play scripts into the Northwest Playwrights Alliance without the intent of being published or produced.

Now, one play is being published in the NPA annual anthology, and the other is being produced in the NPA annual tour.

“Both were huge surprises and I am honored by the choices,” said Gabbitas.

The Northwest Playwright Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to the production, growth and fellowship of playwrights and theater artists.

The script being produced, Vision, Trust & Horticulture, did not come from one major idea, but a collection of thoughts from different time periods in Gabbitas’s life.

“Pictures popped into my head and I wanted the whole world to see them, so I pulled together everything in my mind, every little piece from different parts of my life,” said Gabbitas.

Gabbitas began working on the script years ago, and spent months reading, revising and editing the project.

“I'll go through the script thinking about one character’s rhythms of speech, or one image that I want to be present the whole play, or one problem I noticed the last time I read it that I want to fix,” said Gabbitas.

Gabbitas finished editing the script when she couldn’t read the play anymore, and turned it into NPA.

“I don't ever feel finished with a play, I just feel like I've given up on it and I'm sick of it, that’s when I stop editing,” said Gabbitas.

The NPA tour begins February 2013 in Seattle, Wash., and finishes with performances in England.

“I am not involved in the production of the play, I am just glad it is has the opportunity of being seen by the public,” said Gabbitas.

Gabbitas, a senior majoring in theater arts at USU is passionate about theater, finding it exciting and challenging.

“I go a few months without doing any shows or projects and I start to forget why I love it, then I start work in rehearsals again and realize how much I love the whole process and goals,” said Gabbitas.

Though passionate about the theater industry, Gabbitas struggled deciding if pursuing a career in theater was the correct decision.

“I fought the decision to stick with theater, I wanted to do something sensible with my life,” she said. “The arts sucker-punched me when I wasn’t looking and now I’m stuck being creative, doing what I love and having a great time as a poverty stricken theater artist.”

The decision to come to USU has been met with support from faculty and peers.

“When I have a script idea there’s a professor who will support me every step of the way toward making it a reality,” Gabbitas said. “The theater professors dedicate countless hours toward student projects by showing up to rehearsals and performances on the weekends and giving hours of priceless feedback.”

Gabbitas has relied on USU associate professor Shawn Fisher and other USU faculty to be mentors.

“Shawn and all of the USU faculty consistently go above and beyond with students. They are always willing to throw around ideas, read drafts and respond to my writing. I’ve learned a lot from all of them,” said Gabbitas.

The NPA play being produced is among one of Gabbitas many accomplishments while at USU.

For my senior project I got a Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunities grant to direct and produce the play Pterodactyls, which was absolute proof to me that the most rewarding theater work is a team effort,” said Gabbitas.

Gabbitas has also been involved in a student driven Living Literature Project, which involves theater integration in local high schools. Gabbitas teamed up with another colleague to study the effects of the program.

We'll be presenting the study at a variety of academic and professional conferences this semester and over the summer,” she said.

The course work at USU is very diverse, and has changed the way Gabbitas views theater.

“USU has opened my eyes to a whole side of the theater world I would never have otherwise experienced,” said Gabbitas.

Related links:

USU Theatre Arts Department

USU Caine College of the Arts

Contact: Liz Gabbitas,

Writer: Jaron Dunford, 920-246-2863,

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