Michele Lowe Wins Primus Prize for Iraq-Set Play Inana

News   Michele Lowe Wins Primus Prize for Iraq-Set Play Inana Playwright Michele Lowe has won the The Francesca Primus Prize for her Denver Center Theatre Company-commissioned world premiere Inana, Christopher Rawson, president of the American Theatre Critics Association, announced July 15 at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Connecticut.

Michele Lowe
Michele Lowe Photo by Laura Rose

The Francesca Primus Prize, considered one of the highest honors for a woman in theatre, is an annual $10,000 award honoring outstanding contributions to the American theatre by an emerging female theatre artist who has not yet achieved national prominence.

Administered by the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), the prize is made possible by the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, which honors the writer, critic, performer and dramaturg who died of lung cancer in 1992 at age 42. Historically the award has been given to an outstanding female playwright, but the committee also considers other significant female theatre artists, such as directors or artistic directors.

Lowe was a double finalist for the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for Inana and Victoria Musica. She also was a finalist for the 2009 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for Inana, which premiered at the Denver Center Theatre Company's Colorado New Play Summit. Victoria Musica premiered at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Her newest play, Map of Heaven, was read in 2010 and will premiere in full production at the 2011 Colorado New Play Summit in February.

Inana was billed as "a poignant love story about an Iraqi museum curator's desperate attempt to save an ancient and treasured statue before the U.S. invasion of his country. Amidst a background of international intrigue and marital discovery, the situation in Iraq is mirrored in the life of the curator and his new bride from an arranged marriage."

It was commissioned by the Denver Center Theatre Company, read at the 2008 Colorado New Play Summit, premiered in full production at the 2009 Summit. It is currently on stage at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, WV. Lowe is the author of The Smell of the Kill (Broadway debut), String of Pearls (Primary Stages, Outer Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play), Backsliding in the Promised Land (Syracuse Stage) and Mezzulah, 1946 (City Theatre in Pittsburgh). She is the librettist and lyricist for the musical A Thousand Words Come to Mind (Zipper Theatre), which she wrote with composer Scott Richards.

Piter Marek and Mahira Kakkar in <i>Inana</i>
Piter Marek and Mahira Kakkar in Inana Photo by Terry Shapiro
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