The Department of Theatre and Dance presents the 10th Annual Words Afire Festival, a series of innovative new plays written by graduate students in UNM's award-winning dramatic writing program, Friday, April 23-Sunday, May 2 in the Rodey and Experimental Theatres, UNM Center for the Arts, and the UNM ARTS Lab. From Canada to New York, Puerto Rico to China, Poland to Albuquerque, this year's directors bring a world of experience to the productions.

Playwrights in UNM's dramatic writing program have consistently received national recognition for their work, and this year is no exception.

Graduate student Riti Sachdeva won the Qwest for Peace national playwriting award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for her play "Parts of Parts & Stitches." Sachdeva's award is the 10th from KCACTF won by UNM dramatic writing students.

Head of dramatic writing Elaine Avila said, "10 years ago, Words Afire transmuted from a Dionysian Festival created by my predecessor, Digby Wolfe. Dionysus is the Greek god of wine, madness, theatre and of wild, frenzied release. The Greeks believed this release of passion through the theatre was essential for a balanced society. The theatre continues to allow us a place to view some of the most intense aspects of being human."

Wolfe will be the guest of honor at special tribute on Friday, April 30, 6-8pm in the Experimental Theatre.

World premiere works in the 2010 Words Afire Festival explore comedy, financial crisis, war and finding love in the midst of tragedy. The two fully-staged productions are "That One Forbidden Thing" by Erin Phillips and "Economically Viable" by Aaron Frale.

In the workshop readings, playwrights bring the audience to the heart of conflicts in Juarez ("The Circuz" by GHE), a refugee camp ("Parts of Parts and Stitches" by Sachdeva), and coming to terms with loss ("Anything & Always by Nic Wehrwein). Undergraduate work will be showcased in "The Hot Six," acted and produced by The Blackout Theatre Company.

For the schedule, visit theatre.unm.edu/waf. All plays are appropriate for mature audiences, due to content and language. Ticket prices range from free to $15. Tickets are available at the UNM Ticket Offices, (505) 925-5858 or unmtickets.com.