FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE † †††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††Date: January 10, 2002

†††††††† Contact: Donna McCracken, 206-6716

"Visions & Voices" to benefit womenís programs at UIS

SPRINGFIELD -† "Visions & Voices," a benefit performance of two plays by local authors affiliated with the University of Illinois at Springfield, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 2, and again at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 3, in the Studio Theatre, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center on the UIS campus.† Directed and performed by Mid America Playwrights, the program will also include musical selections from the UIS chorus, directed by Sharon Graf.† A dessert reception in the PAC restaurant will follow the performance.

Tickets are $25 for general admission ($15 for students) and are available at UIS from the Women=s Center, phone (217) 206-7173, the Women=s Studies program, phone (217) 206-6962, or the Bursar=s Office, phone (217) 206-6738.† All proceeds will benefit the Womenís Center and Womenís Studies program.

The plays to be presented are Billyís Voice by Martha Miller and Pilgrimage by Carole Kennerly.

Billyís Voice is a one-act play about a middle-aged woman who spends an afternoon haunted by the ghost of her son.† Inspired by Tillie Olsenís short story As I Stand Here Ironing, Miller brings the experience up to date with a mother who came of age in the sixties, remembering a son who died of AIDS.

Pilgrimage tells the story of three lonely women who sign up with Pilgrimís Way Travel

Adventures in hopes of leaving their troubles behind through a return to Mother Nature.† Their adventure becomes a comic romp, however, in which they find deeper meaning for their lives and learn that even unlikely companions can become friends.† Kennerly has dedicated this play to Velma Carey, long-time local civil rights activist and former campus director of human resources.

Miller is a Springfield writer who has published two books -- a mystery, Nine Nights on the Windy Tree, and a book of short fiction, Skin to Skin.† Her third book will be published later

this year. In 1995 she was named Writer of the Year for fiction by Friends of Lincoln Library and voted Best Writer in Springfield by the Illinois Times Readers Poll.† In 1997 she won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship.† Miller also received several academic awards at UIS, where she recently completed graduate work in the English program.† Billyís Voice is one of four plays she has had produced by MAP Theatre.

Kennerly is director of the Office of Continuing Education at UIS.† She is currently working on a full-length historical drama chronicling the suffrage movement in Illinois and was recently invited to attend the Santa Fe Workshop for emerging playwrights. Pilgrimage is her tenth play to be produced by MAP Theatre.

For further information, contact Kennerly at (217) 206-6073 or Lynn Otterson at (217) 206-7173.