The 27th annual honor — which includes a cash award of $10,000 — recognizes the women dramatist whose works represent outstanding quality for the English speaking theatre. The Awards will be presented in London or New York in February or March.
The finalists (and works for which they are nominated for) are as follows:
Leslie Ayvazian - Rosemary and I
Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti - Behzti (Dishonour)
Rebecca Gilman - Sweetest Swing in Baseball
Joanna McClelland Glass - Trying
Bryony Lavery - Last Easter
Rebecca Lenkiewicz - The Night Season
Melanie Marnich - Cradle of Man
Mia McCullough - Since Africa
Chloe Moss - How Love Is Spelt
Heather Raffo - Nine Parts of Desire
Katherine Thomson - Harbour
Patricia Wettig - My Andy
The play Bezhti (Dishonour) caused much controversy in England as violent protests broke out at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre premiere of the work — which depicts a rape and murder in a Sihk temple. The Sihk playwright went into hiding following the cancellation of her work. The work was chosen as a finalist prior to the production's opening a release states.
Judges for the 2005 awards include actors Stockard Channing and Corin Redgrave, Philadelphia Theatre Company artistic director Sara Garonzik, London's Talawa Theatre Company artistic director Paulette Randall, U.K. theatre journalist and critic Carole Woddis and Variety's London theatre critic Matt Wolf. Playwright Sarah Ruhl won last year's 26th annual Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her work The Clean House. Other recipients of the honor include Dael Orlandersmith's Yellowman, Susan Miller's A Map of Doubt and Rescue, Gina Gionfriddo's U.S. Drag, Bridget Carpenter's Fall, Charlotte Jones' Humble Boy, Jessica Goldberg's Refuge, Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive and Moira Buffini's Silence.
The Susan Smith Blackburn Award, named for the noted American actress and writer, was established in 1978. Submissions for this year's prize include works penned in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
Plays are eligible whether or not they have been produced, but any first production must have taken place within the preceding twelve months.