Valhalla Tahoe announces WordWave winners, winter closure |

Valhalla Tahoe announces WordWave winners, winter closure

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Valhalla Tahoe has announced the winners of its annual WordWave competition where playwrights submit original one-act plays to be judged.

This year more than 80 playwrights made submissions and local judges spent the summer reading the plays with the winners announced this past week.

“The Club” written by Pamela Weiler Grayson, tells the story of a formerly successful, middle-aged white playwright who writes a play about a Syrian refugee family’s Thanksgiving, that becomes an absurdist, farcical look at diversity. Through dark comedy, this play digs into the difficult issues of whose stories should be told and who gets to tell them.

Steven Simoncic’s “Jason and Elvis” finds a 12-year-old boy and his imaginary friend, who happens to be Elvis, navigating a coming of age moment.

“The Mantis Dialogue” written by Marcus McGee delves into what could happen when a man stranded without technology asks a stranger for help … if only he’d seen anyone else out there in the dark before finding this bus stop. The stranger seems harmless, even gives change to passing vagrants. But does that really mean he isn’t a thief or a bi-polar serial killer? “The Mantis Dialogue” explores chance encounters and the enlightenment they can bring. 

While Valhalla Tahoe wasn’t able to hold the WordWave event with play readings and author Q&As in Boathouse this year due to state’s pandemic guidelines, the board of directors is hoping to showcase them in 2021. 

One of Valhalla’s most loved community events is the annual Holiday Faire. After a successful partnership with The Heritage Foundation to create a Winter Wanderland at the Tallac Historic Site last year, both organizations were excited about expanding the event this year. Unfortunately, due to the size of the Grand Hall and limits on capacity, Valhalla Tahoe’s board has been forced to cancel the event. 

“It was a tough decision for the board to cancel the Holiday Faire as we know how much parents and grandparents love to come shop, take pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and listen to the choirs,” Valhalla Tahoe’s Operations Manager Michelle Morton said in a press release. “However, due to the size and age of the building, we could not see a way to safely hold the event in keeping with state guidelines for social distancing. We hope to see everyone at the Faire in 2021. Valhalla Tahoe is thankful for grants and donations that provided some funds to cover operating expenses. 

Valhalla received a $10,000 grant from the American Century Championship, which will be used to help fund the 2021 Concert Series. Valhalla also received a $5,000 grant from State Fund Insurance to purchase needed personal protection equipment for staff and volunteers.  

Valhalla also had to reschedule 2020 concerts for 2021. James Garner will kick off the 2021 season with his tribute to Johnny Cash on June 15. If indoor concerts are still not allowed in 2021, Valhalla will work with the forest service to safely hold socially-distanced events on the Grand Lawn. 

Nonprofits all over the nation are struggling with lost revenue due to the coronavirus. With 96% of 2020 revenue lost or moved to 2021, Valhalla Tahoe has had to reduce operating expenses and go dark until Spring. 

Valhalla hopes to drive memberships and engagement in 2021 utilizing a donation from Vail Resort’s Epic Promise Foundation. Valhalla will be holding a drawing in July for a Tahoe Value Season Pass and two Ultimate Adventure Passes for Heavenly’s Epic Discovery. 

Valhalla needs the community’s help to continue providing quality events on the South Shore. Valhalla has been dedicated to preserving the Heller Estate for 40 years and it hopes to continue offering community and cultural events for many more. 

“If you love spending time at Valhalla and the organization’s mission of preserving Tahoe Heritage through art, music and theatre, please consider becoming a member or donating,” Morton said. “Valhalla is a unique community resource that gives people a place to come together and experience old Tahoe while enjoying the arts.” 

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