Theatre Student Earns National Playwriting Recognition

Hieu Bui is a national semi-finalist in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival playwriting competition
Hieu Bui from the shoulders up, standing in front of an orange background and looking at camera

Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Hieu Bui is a writer, director and performer, and he chose to attend the UMKC Conservatory to help him hone those crafts. Bui says that his time here has given him the confidence and skills to succeed on his own terms.

“The most important thing I’ve learned at UMKC is that you must make your own work, especially if you aren’t given opportunities. Most plays and stories don’t have faces like mine, aesthetic like mine and cultures that are mine. I realized that no one else will write these aspects that are me,” he says.

Bui is already making a name for himself with an original work titled, “Blanket,” about siblings struggling to adjust to life in a new country after moving from Vietnam. Bui entered his play into the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) national playwriting competition in the ten-minute play category. “Blanket” placed first regionally, is a national semi-finalist and was recognized for Outstanding Play. Approximately 70 ten-minute plays were entered in the regional festival.

Bui’s play is one of 16 semi-finalists nationwide. Of those, four will be selected to be performed at the national festival in April.

“The most important thing I’ve learned at UMKC is that you must make your own work, especially if you aren’t given opportunities."

In addition to writing “Blanket,” Bui directed and acted in the video reading for the competition. Bui’s friends and fellow UMKC students helped plan and direct the shoot, as well as acted in it. They did one reading over Zoom and filmed in Grant Hall on campus.Three students stand in a row with stands in front of them, rehearsing lines for Bui's play

This is Bui’s second time entering the KCACTF. Last year, he was one of three finalists in the one-act play competition. Bui says this year’s work, “Blanket” was inspired by a reading in his playwriting class.

“Playwriting, acting and poetry are some of my favorite classes that I’ve taken. My professors’ passion for storytelling and their support gave me what I needed to build this play and enter the KCACTF. This is only the second competition I’ve entered my work in, but it won’t be the last.”

Learn more about Conservatory

Published: Mar 10, 2022

Top Stories