Kerry, a 1974 graduate of UALR, became a notable playwright and screenwriter after beginning as a dancer in Arkansas and Dallas, eventually touring with the original company of "A Chorus Line." With many plays and television movies to her credit, she was well into a successful career when she discovered she had lung cancer.
Kerry began a conversation with UALR about how she might keep contributing after her death. With her family's help, the Kerry Kennedy Aspiring Playwright Fund was created and now annually helps sponsor a 10-minute playwriting contest for students...The Fringe Festival.
Students from all academic disciplines write, cast, stage, set design, and costume their productions. Each year, the Festival brings in a nationally known professional to provide immediate feedback
And that's where Jeff Wright's story begins. He was exposed to theatre in high school and tried his hand at writing, but decided not to pursue it further. Like many his age, he had a passion to learn but no focus and so spent several years taking classes at UALR, searching for a calling.
On a whim he took an acting class where he saw the flyer for the 2008 Fringe Festival funded by the Kerry Kennedy Aspiring Playwright Fund. Jeff was immediately intrigued.
He wrote Seeds of Evil and it was selected to be produced for the Festival. That first success put him on a new path, and he has been actively involved writing, acting, and producing in subsequent Fringes. Jeff says he's found his niche and because of Kerry's inspiration, he has been invited to submit plays in New York.
Together, Kerry Kennedy and Jeff Wright are creating a legacy that will last forever!