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National group honors UW-La Crosse original play about 9-11

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A national group is putting an original UW-La Crosse play center stage.

The National Committee of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival has honored the university’s Department of Theatre Arts with several awards for the original documentary drama, “Severe Clear: September 11 from Memory to History.” Written by UWL faculty and students, the production premiered on campus in Toland Theatre in October 2020.

“This type of national recognition not only speaks to the incredible work our faculty and students are producing but also sheds positive national light on the university as a whole,” says Joe Anderson, chair of the Theatre Arts Department.

The Kennedy Center committee celebrates institutions, productions and individuals for their determination, adaptability, innovation, and experimentation on home campuses nationwide.

The UWL production received numerous Citizen Artist Awards. The awards recognize programs in higher education using theatrical production to promote long-term societal impact through an artistic lens, to encourage empathetic exploration of the complex cultural and physical world, and to advocate for justice on campus and throughout the world.

Among the UWL citations:

• Special Achievement in the Production of a New Work

• Special Achievement in the Production of a Devised or Company-Generated Work

• Special Achievement in Direction by Faculty Artists, citing Assistant Professor Greg Parmeter

• Special Achievement in Ensemble Performance

Find out more about the creation of the award-winning production in the documentary “Severe Clear: The Story Behind the Story” at:

This isn’t the only recent recognition for the Theatre Arts Department. In spring 2021, the national theatre blog OnStage named it the best theatre program in Wisconsin while listing top programs in all 50 states.


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