Theater student on her way to becoming successful playwright

Sara Fehrmann is continuing to make great progress toward becoming a successful playwright.

Sara Fehrmann, a 21-year-old senior and theater history literature criticism major, has been putting pen to paper in an effort to produce plays, books and other written creations since she was 6 years old.

For the St. Louis native, her recent achievement – having her original 10-minute play selected by Hunger Arts Theatre Company to be performed in the play festival ‘Beyond Convention 4’ – signifies a major step towards her long-term goal of becoming a successful playwright.

“I’m excited about this happening,” Fehrmann said. “I’m hoping that this will open other doors.”

The senior – who wrote her first book when she was in the fifth grade – learned about the opportunity through an online listing requesting submissions for 10-minute plays for the festival.

With the goal of finding an agent and eventually being chosen by a publishing company, Fehrmann is constantly searching for avenues for literary exposure.

After submitting her creation, “ADWIT,” Fehrmann was notified that her work had been selected to be performed in the festival.

The festival will take place at Hunger Artists Theatre Company in Fullerton, CA from November 12-21.

Even though Fehrmann has been writing since she was a child, she attributes much of her literary growth to the Department of Theater and Dance’s curriculum.

“The classes have actually helped me a lot.” Fehrmann said. “It [the classes] helped me to learn about sets, history, acting and just general production information. Without those classes, I would not have matured in writing.”

Fehrmann noted two specific courses that particularly contributed to her maturation as a playwright – “theater history” and “forms of dramatic action.”

“Forms of dramatic action” is a core requirement for all theater and dance majors and is often taught by Johanna Schmitz, associate professor of theater and dance.

 “While playwriting is not part of the [forms of dramatic action] course, students carefully study the form, content and receptive impact of various works so that they understand how plays work and why the ‘event’ of live performance matters,” explained Schmitz.

Fehrmann takes elements from her academic experiences at SIUE and successfully applies them to her professional endeavors.

Fehrmann also developed a short play ‘Rememberance,’ – performed last year in Halifax, West Yorkshire, (UK) as a part of the GI60 festival – during workshop sessions in Reader’s Theater at SIUE.
“Reader’s Theater is an informal group I started to benefit student playwrights who have dramatic work to the point that they would benefit from hearing it read out loud,” said Schmitz.

Fehrmann has certainly seen some of the benefits of raw talent, hard work and successfully utilizing and applying academic experience. She is hoping to continue to draw on such values in the future. Her mentors share similar hopes for her and are proud of the achievements that Fehrmann has made at this point.

“Sara Fehrmann has successfully applied what she has learned in [forms of dramatic action] and in Reader’s Theater to her own creative writing, resulting in two professionally produced plays in 2010,” said Schmitz.

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