Press Release

Winner of First International Thomas Wolfe Playwrighting Competition Announced!

Competition Honors one of North Carolina’s most famous writers

(Chapel Hill, NC, March 9, 2020) PlayMakers Repertory Company, along with The Thomas Wolfe Society and The Thomas Wolfe Memorial, proudly announce the winner of the first International Thomas Wolfe Playwrighting Competition, Sara Jean Accuardi’s “The Storyteller.” Along with a $7,500 cash prize from the Wolfe Society, the play will receive workshop development support from PlayMakers during its 2020/21 season.

The competition, launched in 2019 to celebrate the work of one of North Carolina’s most famous writers and 100 years of playmaking at UNC-Chapel Hill, received more than 200 submissions of unproduced scripts from playwrights all over the world. A committee made up of nationally based artists, arts leaders, UNC-Chapel Hill scholars, and Triangle based arts community members read the submissions, with each manuscript receiving at least two readings. The winner was chosen from among eight finalists by award-winning TV writer, playwright and UNC alum Bekah Brunstetter (“The Cake,” NBC’s “This Is Us”) and Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ Producing Artistic Director.

“What an exhilarating and humbling experience it has been to read the works of so many playwrights of all ages, backgrounds, and stages of life,” said Benesch. “This playwrighting competition has underscored for me how rich the tapestry of the American theatre is, and how lucky we are, as artists and citizens, to have such a wide range of voices telling stories great and small, spilling over with life and love, Sara Jean Accuardi’s play stood out among those amazing voices, and ‘The Storyteller’ is very much in the spirit of Thomas Wolfe, with its deeply personal narrative, inventive storytelling and social commentary .”

“The Storyteller” centers around 17-year-old Randi, who has lived off the grid with her father on a decrepit houseboat for as long as she can remember. When Spencer, a local college student, stumbles into Randi’s story, the narrative begins to change as long-hidden truths start to surface. Sara’s play is about the power of the stories we tell, to and about ourselves. It’s tender, magical and full of surprises, and it brilliantly answers the Wolfe Competition’s call for ‘highly original, personal stories rooted in geographic place.’ Just like the best of Wolfe’s writing, Sara has deftly harnessed the tension of both wanting to run from your past, while simultaneously seeking to embrace and take ownership of it.

“Since 1919 and the first performance of the Carolina Playmakers, Thomas Wolfe has inspired generations of artists, poets and writers,” said Tom Muir, Site Manager at The Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site in Asheville, N.C. “Thanks to the support of more than 50 individuals and organizations and this partnership with PlayMakers Repertory Company, we continue making memories by congratulating the winner of the International Thomas Wolfe Playwrighting Competition.”

About PlayMakers Repertory Company

PlayMakers Repertory Company is North Carolina’s premier professional theatre company. For more than 40 years, we have produced relevant and courageous work that tells stories from and for a multiplicity of perspectives, and creates transformational impact in our immediate and extended communities. We are proud to be part of a 100-year tradition of playmaking at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. PlayMakers has been named one of the “best regional theatres in America.”

About The Thomas Wolfe Memorial and The Thomas Wolfe Society

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is a State Historic Site in Asheville, NC and receives support from the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Advisory Committee. The Thomas Wolfe Society was established in 1979 to promote appreciation and study of the works of this famous American author.

PlayMakers contact: For more information, contact Diana Pineda, 919.962.7114 or