Preparing the PlayWRIGHTs of the Creative Artist Award

The Wright Way sets out to develop playwrights the right way. This series offers workshops, readings and masterclasses through out the year for those interested in producing and learning about new works. However its primary focus is the development of NC State student plays, particularly those of the Arts NC State creative artist award. Through readings, workshops, mentorship and eventual presentation with production support, UT is committed to help develop the next generation of NC State playwrights.

Arts NC State and University Theatre invites students to submit original work to be considered for the Creative Artist Award. A committee of University Theatre staff selects a play each spring to be the following year’s centerpiece script. The selected script will receive readings, workshops, mentorship and eventual presentation with production support.

Junior biological sciences major Gaven Bell was named winner of the 2021 Creative Artist Award for her play A Case of Salt. Bell’s play will be workshopped and fall semester of 2021 and presented with production support in the Kennedy-McIlwee Studio Theatre March of 2022.

A Case of Salt

By Gaven Bell

A murder mystery highlights the expectations, fears, and assumptions about disability that a group of high school theatre students face in this 2021 Creative Artist winning play by Gaven Bell.

“I was inspired to write this specific story because there is a lack of strong disability representation in theatre — for both characters and actors. Growing up, the only person I knew with a disability like mine was my sister, and we very rarely saw our experiences reflected in the media we were consuming.”

Theme(s): Disability Visibility & Inclusion

Content Warnings: Adult & Ableist Language

March 3 – 6

Kennedy-McIlwee Studio Theatre
Frank Thompson Hall

Picture of Gaven Bell


Gaven Bell is a junior majoring in biological sciences with a concentration in integrative physiology and neurobiology and minors in science communication and theatre. Gaven often jokes that she “does a little bit of everything” in theatre. She began acting during her freshman year of high school when she participated in her school’s annual production of Quixotica, a collection of student-written and/or directed short plays. She continued to be involved in student-written productions throughout high school (one of which she helped write and direct) and last year stage managed Static, the 2020 Creative Artist Award play. She has been involved with University Theatre since her first semester at NC State when she played Emma in Fefu and Her Friends. 

2020 Creative Artist Award

Static by Aysia Slade. Image of three actors on stage.

Jay, Ali, and Eli have known each other since grade school but college transforms them in ways they never expected. Jay dreams of a future built from his morning radio show. Eli and Ali find their relationship shifting when their friendships tragically shift. Isolation seems inevitable until Jay’s music connects them all.

Senior psychology major, Aysia Slade, was named winner of the 2020 Creative Artist Award for her fifty-five minute play Static. Spending the fall of 2020 working with staff and professional playwrights, Aysia refined her work preparing it for its live performance in March of 2020. Due to COVID guidelines limited indoor audiences, Static was filmed and shown free on Stafford Commons at Talley Student Union in April of 2020.

Our two honorable mentions Heritage and Middle Grounds were presented in a weekend of staged virtual readings.

FEBRUARY 13, 2021 | 2:00PM

Middle Grounds by Penny Lawrence and Jack Deweese is a play about death and moving on, but it’s also a play about community, and the split-second friendships you make in line at Starbucks. It takes place in the space between life and the afterlife. An intimate take on what it means to let go and move on from the other side.

Honorable Mention: 2020 Creative Artist Award

Heritage (noun) – An inheritance passed from generation to generation.
It’s November. Ellen returns home after years of avoiding her demanding mother and doting father. The same old patterns play out upon her return but November is a transitional season. It’s a time for things to fall apart in order to come back together in unexpected ways. Written by Griffin James

Honorable Mention: 2020 Creative Artist Award

The Arts NC State Creative

Artist Award recognizes original work in music, dance and theatre created by NC State students. For theatre this means playwriting. The winning playwright receives $500, and their work is developed and performed the following academic year.

More information about the Creative Artist Award can be found on the Arts NC State Website.