home Events and Exhibits, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books Lanford Wilson Conference – Call for Proposals

Lanford Wilson Conference – Call for Proposals

Call for paper and/or panel proposals for “Missouri Self-Taught: Lanford Wilson and the American Drama,” an interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Missouri Department of Theatre, April 26-29, 2018. This conference is in conjunction with the University of Missouri Press publication of Lanford Wilson: Early Stories, Sketches, and Poems, edited by David A. Crespy, a new production of The Rimers of Eldritch presented by the university theatre department, and the University of Missouri Libraries’ recent acquisition of the Lanford Wilson Collection, an archive that is available to conference attendees for research and study. Registration is free.

Topic: Lanford Wilson and the American Drama

We are seeking essays that explore Wilson’s distinctly American voice in both urban and pastoral settings, his dramatic structure (from experimental to commercial), his position at the forefront of writing LGBTQ characters (mainstream to fringe), and his diverse subject matter (e.g., love and marriage, race in America, science and history, war and the atomic age, and violence on stage).

In addition, we welcome essays that explore the history and praxis of Wilson’s plays in any of the following areas:

  • Wilson’s work with the Circle Repertory Theatre, including his mentorship of other playwrights
  • Dramaturgical perspectives, both specific to his Missouri and mid-Western heritage, and as a self-taught artist
  • Wilson’s experimental work in the early years of the Off-off Broadway movement
  • Wilson’s work on Broadway as a commercial playwright
  • Acting, directorial, and design concepts of Lanford Wilson plays and productions
  • His interest in “outsider” art and his own background as a graphic artist

We encourage submissions from undergraduate and graduate students, as well as established scholars or theatre professionals from any approach (e.g., theatre history, performance studies, literary theory, and criticism), as well as those who have worked with Mr. Wilson in any of the above activities.  The Conference is facilitated by the MU Graduate Theatre Organization.

Former New York City Circle Repertory Theatre members Marshall W. Mason, the Tony® Award-winning director of Lanford Wilson’s plays; artistic director Tanya Berezin; Emmy award-winning playwright Mary Sue Price; and founding director of Circle Rep Lab, Danny Irvine, will attend the conference as keynote speakers.

Please contact David Crespy (CrespyD@missouri.edu) for queries, proposals, and/or submissions.

Deadline for submission of paper and/or panel proposals: November 15, 2017. Registration is free.

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department’s digital presences. Contact Kelli

home Resources and Services, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books Monday Manuscript: Notebooks from a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright

Monday Manuscript: Notebooks from a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright

April 13 would have been playwright Lanford Wilson's 77th birthday, so we're celebrating him by featuring his work on this week's Manuscript Monday. Wilson passed away in 2011 and left his papers to the University of Missouri Libraries. The collection includes correspondence, working notebooks, drafts and proof copies, and well as work related to Wilson's personal interests, such as gardening and art collecting.

The manuscripts featured here relate to Wilson's plays A Sense of Place and Fifth of July, which was recently produced on campus by the MU Theatre Department. It's fascinating to watch Wilson at work through these pages, as he adds, edits and deletes the texts of his plays.  

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An unexpected bonus: we also found Wilson's recipe for tomato tart, which sounds delicious. Let us know if you try it!

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home Events and Exhibits, Resources and Services, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books Papers of Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Lanford Wilson in Special Collections

Papers of Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Lanford Wilson in Special Collections

We're happy to announce that an exhibition of selected materials from the Lanford Wilson Collection, curated by our colleagues at the University Archives, is on view in the Ellis Library Colonnade.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson made a legacy gift of his papers to the University of Missouri in 2011.  Wilson grew up in Springfield and Ozark, Missouri, and spent most of his life in New York.  He began his career at Caffe Cino, a pioneering Off-Off Broadway theater run by Joe Cino that produced plays by many young, aspiring playwrights.

Wilson wrote plays for La MaMa Experimental Theater Club and the Circle Repertory Company, a project organized by Wilson and three of his associates from the Caffe Cino and La MaMa.  Plays that premiered at the Circle Repertory Company included Talley's Folly, Serenading Louie, The Mound Builders, Fifth of July, and The Hot l Baltimore.  Wilson's plays were critically acclaimed and won several awards and nominations.  In 1980, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Talley's Folly. Wilson was elected to the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2001 and to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004.

Lanford Wilson displayThe Lanford Wilson Collection includes 53 linear feet of correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks, posters, photographs, and over 100 books.  Researchers can access the finding aid online, and the collection is available for use in the Special Collections reading room.

The Lanford Wilson exhibition is presented in conjunction with a conference, "Angels in Performance: Documenting LGBTQ Lives in Theatre & Performance," hosted by the MU Department of Theatre, April 24-28.  The conference will feature guest artist and award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Tony Kushner. The exhibition will be on view through the month of April.