Prof’s work is play
Professor Paul Lim, right, directs actors Phillip Schroeder
and Jan Chapman during rehearsals for “Miss Julie,” which
is being presented by KU’s English Alternative Theatre. EAT stages
productions to enhance the experience of KU’s student playwrights.
R. Steve Dick/University Relations
8 p.m. April 9, 10
2:30 p.m. April 10,11
Lawrence Arts Center
Call 843-2787 for ticket information
English professor uses theatre to enhance class
Paul Lim is convinced plays should be seen and not just heard.
a professor of playwriting at KU since 1989, never cared for teaching
playwriting classes in which plays were read but never performed. His
desire to allow students the experience of seeing works performed led
to the creation of KU’s English Alternative Theatre, a production
company based not in fine arts but in the Department of English.
“It became apparent immediately that to effectively teach playwriting
we’d have to produce student plays as well,” Lim said. “That
was the birth of EAT in 1989.”
Since then, EAT has produced countless student-written plays, including
17 that have been featured regionally as part of the Kennedy Center American
College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). Three of those plays—“Pterodactyls,”
written by Scott Ferree in 1999; “Bunnies,” written by Michael
O’Brien in 2001; and “Attack of the Asians,” written
by Tim Macy in 2002—were performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington,
D.C. Another, “Whiteout,” written by Alan Newton in 2001,
won the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award.
In addition to student plays, EAT also has presented productions of classics
including Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,”
Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
and Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.”
The productions are teaching tools for English department courses in dramatic
literature, but they also have evolved into community-supported events.
“Videos of most of these plays are readily available, but it’s
a treat to see these pieces that were meant to be performed live,”
In 2002, EAT formed a partnership with the Lawrence Arts Center for a
permanent performance venue. EAT performers are mostly KU students but
also are drawn from the professional ranks in Lawrence and Kansas City.
Lim’s roles as teacher, director, producer and founder of EAT have
earned him recognition on a national level. From 2000 to 2003, Lim served
as chair of Region 5 of the KCACTF. Earlier this year, Lim served as a
member of the three-person national selection team from the Kennedy Center
to adjudicate 71 productions at the eight regional festivals.
Lim traveled more than 11,000 miles in eight weeks to select five productions
that will be featured at the Kennedy Center April 12 through 18.