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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 26, 2006

No Shame Theatre Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Founding At UI, Oct. 9-14

No Shame Theatre, founded in 1986 by students in the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a reunion week of performances, Oct. 9-14, in the UI Theatre Building. The performances will be at 11 p.m. Monday through Friday in Theatre B, and the "National BEST OF the Best of No Shame" at 11 p.m. Saturday in E.C. Mabie Theatre.

No Shame has never been an official activity of the Department of Theatre Arts -- the first No Shame performance was in the back of a pick-up truck, illuminated by car lights in the Theatre Building parking lot -- but the department did invite the students to come in out of the rain, and the ad-hoc performances became a weekly fixture in the Theatre Building.

No Shame was launched on a soggy evening by Iowa playwrights Todd Ristau, Stan Ruth and Jeff Goode. "Our mission was to provide a vehicle for emerging writers and performers to work side by side with grizzled veterans regardless of experience," explains Ristau, who owned the original truck. "We wanted a place where failure wouldn't be so dangerous a prospect that no one tried to succeed."

The rules were simple: Each piece must last no longer than five minutes, it must be original and it must not break anything -- including laws, audience members, performers and the venue. The first 15 performers who show up at the door with a piece prepared were in the show.

As graduates of the department fanned out through the theater world, they began opening No Shame franchises wherever they went. No Shame performances have been staged in locations as far-flung as Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Minot, Austin, Fairbanks, LaCrosse, Portland, Miami, New York City, Charleston and Roanoke. No Shames are just getting started in Pittsburgh, Chapel Hill and Cork, Ireland.

Distinguished No Shame alums include Jeff Goode, Rebecca Gilman, Ruth Margraff, Sean Clark, Toby Huss, Megan Gogerty, Kieth Blaney, Erin Quinn Purcell, Greg Jackson, Frank Ensenberger, Karen Gordon, Stuart Sherman, John Leguizamo, Camryn Manheim, Peter Ullian, Brett Neveu, Jonathan Price, Samir Saboura, Leila Sbitani, Levy Lee Simon, Chuck Sklar, D.B. Woodside, Lisa Schlesinger, Naomi Wallace, Todd Alcott, Shem Bitterman, Janet Bogardus, Robert Caisley, Dan Coffey, David Dannenfelser, Noemi De La Puente, Steve Feffer, Rod Ferrone, Joshua James, Gina Kaufmann, Bonnie Metzgar, Matt Mitler, Amy Lynn Pigott, Eric A. Pot, Julie Sheehan, Hal Ackerman, Eeva Kurki and Douglas Scott Hessler.

Learn more at, or call Adam Hahn, 319-351-3779.

Admission to No Shame is $1 at the door.

Potential audience members should be aware that some material of an adult nature is likely to be performed at any No Shame event.

The Department of Theatre Arts is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073; cell: 310-430-1013;