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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance


Play by Theatre Grad Student Gets Published

First-year MA student Ryan Stevens' original full-length, PLAYER KING, was picked up by British publisher Stagescripts, LTD.

Ryan Stevens (center) with the Player King cast in April, 2015

If a finished play is like a child to its playwright, then first-year MA student Ryan Stevens is about to see one of his “kids” grow up and take on the world.

Player King, a play that the then-senior English major premiered at the University of SC’s Lab Theatre in April of 2015, has been picked up for publication by Stagescripts, Ltd., a publisher based in England.  It is Stevens’ first play to be published.

Written in and out of Shakespearean verse, Player King centers on a theatre company working on an incoming production of Hamlet. When an egotistical actor is snubbed for the titular part, he takes matters into his own hands to manipulate his fellow actors and superiors.  The Lab Theatre production marked the first time one of Stevens’ full-length works was staged.  In July, Stevens hosted a staged reading of his play, The Bee-Man of Crighton County.

A still from the original production of Player King.  From left: Brooke Smith,
William Quant and Megh Ahire.

Stevens worked tirelessly over the summer of 2015, submitting his scripts to publishers online all over the world.  “I submitted a bunch of scripts to a bunch of places just to see what would stick,” he says.  “It was sort of my third job, submitting scripts, and this was the first one that bit.”

“I got to see their feedback, and it’s very gratifying to see comments like ‘very funny’ and ‘the meter is very tightly constructed.’  I was flattered that we got that right.”

The website “Play Submissions Helper” gave Stevens a head start on finding opportunities and contacts.  “It’s a great resource for people looking to submit plays of any length.  It lists theatres looking for plays, as well as contests and info on publishing companies,” he says.

Stevens says he plans on submitting more of his works in the future, saying that there are endless opportunities to present new work to theatres.  “There’s never nobody looking.”

For now, he’s proud to be counted among the ranks of published playwrights.

“It’s an exciting first step.”

Congratulations, Ryan!