Wright State acting major wins prestigious playwriting competition

Credit: Megan Ledford

Credit: Megan Ledford

When Megan Ledford, a senior acting major at Wright State University, received an email notifying her she won the prestigious Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition, she assumed it was spam.

“I entered the competition with no hopes of winning because I wrote a comedy,” Ledford said. “I thought that nobody was going to care because there are probably shows that are being submitted that are these hard-hitting dramas. People love hard-hitting dramas, not a comedy about twenty-somethings. I thought it was a scam email and read it again and knew that it was real. I was in shock.”

Ledford won the competition, sponsored by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati and geared towards young and emerging playwrights, for her first full-length play entitled “Hi! Maintenance.” The comedy follows Andy, a 24-year-old woman struggling to understand her place in the world. When her apartment building’s trusted maintenance man is replaced with a new worker, Charles, Andy is forced to face her shortcomings head-on and eventually learns a thing or two about growing pains.

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Credit: Megan Ledford

Credit: Megan Ledford

“I didn’t do a very graceful leap into adulthood, but I don’t think anyone does,” Ledford said. “I see these TV shows where they’re 20 years old and they have a three-bedroom apartment, they’re in a perfect relationship and everything’s great. I felt that I wanted to write something where things are a little bit messier and the people are a little more stressed out and more confused.”

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Ledford first started writing “Hi! Maintenance” in March of 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic began to change the landscape of the entertainment world. She was encouraged to write the play by Bruce Cromer, an acting professor at Wright State.

After she won the competition, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati produced a fully staged reading of Ledford’s play performed by professional actors, which can be viewed on YouTube. In the next year, she hopes to produce a full-scale, in-person production of “Hi! Maintenance.”

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Prior to writing “Hi! Maintenance,” Ledford wrote shorter content, including comedy sketches, at Wright State. She also began performing in theater productions when she was 5 years old. She hopes to pursue acting and playwriting after graduation. Her WSU credits include “The Wolves,” “The War of the Worlds” and “KARENS: A Comedy of Very Bad Manners.”

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