The individual awards have been set up to nurture the careers of established and emerging playwrights. An advisory committee comprising André Bishop (Lincoln Center Theater), David Emmes (South Coast Repertory), Oskar Eustis (The Public Theater), Polly K. Carl, Ph.D. (Playwrights Center), Martha Lavey (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Eduardo Machado (INTAR Theatre), and Marc Masterson (Actors Theatre of Louisville) has been assembled to determine the criteria for the honors.
The Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award will honor a mid-career playwright, whose work has been previously recognized, with a $200,000 cash prize. The Distinguished Playwright Award will be the first honor bestowed in September 2008.
In 2009, the Steinberg Charitable Trust will bestow the first Emerging Playwrights Award, honoring two young playwrights whose work shows promise. This award comes with a $50,000 cash prize for each playwright honored.
As part of the biennial awards, a non-profit theatre that produces a debut production of a Steinberg Award-winning playwright, may also be eligible for a production grant. This will be determined at the discretion of the selected committee and the trust.
The Steinberg Board stated, "These awards have been years in the making. It is our desire to honor both the achievement and potential of these playwrights, and provide them with the financial freedom to devote their best efforts to writing for the theatre." *
The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created by Harold Steinberg in 1986. The Trust's primary mission is to support and promote the American theatre as a vital part of our culture by nurturing American playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new American plays, and providing significant support to theatre companies across the country.