Theatre Oxford’s 10 Minute Play Festival nominated for Present Mississippi Award

Published 7:35 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023

A weekend of theater may not seem like an economic and community development strategy, but Theatre Oxford has made it so with their annual 10 Minute Play Festival.  This signature annual production by the community theater group receives hundreds of submissions from writers, including international submissions, all seeking to have their work produced for the first time.  

The almost year-long project culminates with workshops on playwriting and first time productions of plays submitted to the contest. Writers travel to Oxford to see their work on the stage for the first time. This program’s wide reach and engagement of writers who travel to Oxford was the driving force behind the Mississippi Presenters Network recognition of 10 Minute Play Festival for the state wide award.

“The goal of the Present Mississippi Award is to highlight that the arts contribute more to our communities than quality of life,” said Rori Herbison, the network program coordinator.  “The arts contribute economically to our communities.  A community theater’s play contest has made Oxford a focal point for writers creating a tourist experience while offering high quality art by producing new works. The writers who come to take the workshops, attend the plays, or see their winning play produced stay in hotels, dine out, and celebrate being recognized by the local community.”  

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The Mississippi Presenters Network launched the Present Mississippi Awards this year to coincide with the release of the national Arts and Economic Prosperity Study conducted by Americans for the Arts.  The national study highlights the economic impact of the arts on communities.  The Board of the Mississippi Presenters Network wanted to highlight the number of programs that happen in communities around the State.  

“Large festivals like Double Decker or Cotton District make it easy to visualize the economic impact,” said MSPN Board member and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council director Wayne Andrews. “It is the events that happen each week like the 10 Minute Play Festival, CelticFest, or Allumer Natchez that quietly make a difference in Oxford, Natchez and Jackson.”

The Mississippi Presenters Network is a statewide agency that supports arts presenters. “We work with Arts Councils, Festival organizers, and community organizations seeking to share knowledge, resources and encourage communities to invest in the Arts,” added Herbison.  

The Present Mississippi Awards are highlighting three categories: “New Art Event,” “Art Event on a Budget and Community” and “Economic Development.” 

Nominations are being accepted online at through Nov 30. Anyone can nominate an event in Mississippi. 

“We hope to highlight the number of events that happen around Mississippi each year,” Andrews said. “We think a comprehensive list of events of all sizes will help Mississippians visualize how the data in the Americans for the Arts economic impact study in their community.”

The winners of the Present Mississippi Award will be announced Dec. 6.