First Winner of The Relentless Award Will Be Honored at the Cherry Lane

News   First Winner of The Relentless Award Will Be Honored at the Cherry Lane Aleshea Harris is being celebrated this year for her 2016 play Is God Is.
Aleshea Harris
Aleshea Harris Costa Ciminiello and Andrew Wofford

The American Playwriting Foundation, which is under the executive direction of David Bar Katz and awards the largest annual grant in American theatre to an unproduced play, has partnered with two London theatres to give eight American playwrights per year an opportunity to create artistic relationships with the British theatre community.

The Old Vic will annually present a staged reading of that year's Relentless Award-winning play in London, featuring a British cast and director, and the eight Relentless Award finalists and semi-finalists will be part of a week-long Reading Series at Battersea, London's Theatre503, which launches the work of more new writers than any other theatre in the U.K.

“This award exists to serve playwrights and what could be more exiting for an American playwright than seeing their work read on one of the most storied stages in the English-speaking world, and to have the opportunity to work with the artists and staff of one of the most exciting producing venues in the U.K.,” said Bar Katz in a statement. “And Theatre503 will be presenting eight of what we think are the best American plays written each year; eight diverse playwrights from all over the U.S. will work with eight British directors. Europeans who have been asking lately what the hell Americans are thinking will have an intimate opportunity to find out."

Established in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman and his "pursuit of truth in the theatre," The American Playwriting Foundation's March 26 ceremony at the Cherry Lane Theatre will feature the presentation of the 2016 Relentless Award to Aleshea Harris for her play, Is God Is.

The Play Selection Committee comprises playwrights Eric Bogosian, Thomas Bradshaw, David Bar Katz, Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, John Ortiz, Jonathan Marc Sherman, and Lucy Thurber. Over 2,000 plays were received and considered. The committee sought plays that were challenging and relentlessly truthful.

Submissions for the 2017 award are now being accepted through May 15. For more information, click here.

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