First Montana Playwrights Conference to be held in Helena

James Still

The first Montana Playwrights Conference, scheduled for Nov. 2 and 3 at Helena College, is offered through a partnership among the Montana Playwrights Network, the Helena College Foundation, Helena College’s Continuing Education department and the Theatre Arts program at Helena High School. In addition, our supporters include Humanities Montana, Opportunity Bank, Sullivan Financial Group and many Helena area businesses.


Conference highlights playwright James Still

As a playwright, James’ work is produced throughout the world. His plays were nominated four times for the Pulitzer Prize, and developed at prestigious institutions such as Robert Redford’s Sundance, the New Harmony Project, Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and many others. Three of his plays received the Distinguished Play Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. James is the Resident Playwright at Indiana Repertory Theatre, which recently received a 2.5 million dollar gift to honor James Still’s 20th season as IRT’s Playwright-in-Residence, and officially name the James Still Playwright-in-Residence position in perpetuity through the designation of The James Still Playwright-in-Residence Fund. James is one of the only playwrights in the country to hold such tenure.


Associate Keynote Presenter Dr. Xan Johnson

Dr. Xan Johnson is a leading international keynote presenter sharing research focusing on the relationship between Child Drama and Social Cognitive Neuroscience. Currently, along with science researchers, Xan received significant grants to initiate a theatre intervention program in 2016 seeking to increase social cognition and theory of mind skills in young people living in the autism spectrum.

Other presenters include: Mike Jetty, Greg Owens, Jud Harmon, Tony Mannen, Robert Holter, Janice Jamruszka-Wilson, and Pamela Mencher. Workshop titles include: Scriptwriting Techniques for Creative Writing; a Master Class in Playwriting; Beyond Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll: The Science of Playwriting in the 21st Century; Improvisational Story Writing; Resolving Conflict Through Story; Maintaining and Revitalizing Cultural Identity Through Oral Tradition; Performance Techniques Through Storytelling; Story in the Classroom; and Improve Health, Communication and Business Through Story.

For complete Montana Playwrights Conference information including all presenter bios; workshop descriptions; accommodations; a special evening performance of Montana Tales that features original stories, poetry, monologues, short plays, and other works; and registration information, visit MPN’s website at



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