Five Houston, TX, theatre companies — including the Alley Theatre, The Ensemble Theatre, Theater LaB Houston, Main Street Theater and Stages Repertory Theatre — have aligned to produce the event, which will celebrate the work of local playwrights.
Among the playwrights who will be represented in the Women in Theatre: Houston Voices readings are Mary Ellen Whitworth (Sink Hole), Celeste Bedford Walker (Sassafras Girls), C. Denby Swanson (The Potato Feast), Elizabeth Gilbert (Nearing Velocity) and Crystal Jackson (Militia Slumber Party, or Embracing the New World Order). Houston-area professional actors will populate the casts of the various readings.
"The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize reflects the values and interests of Susan Smith Blackburn, noted American actress and writer who lived in London during the last 15 years of her life," according to the awards organizers. "She died in 1977 at the age of 42. Over 300 plays have been chosen as finalists since the prize was instituted in 1977. Over 60 of them are frequently produced in the United States today. Six Blackburn finalist plays have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The authors of those plays, Margaret Edson, Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, Suzan-Lori Parks, Paula Vogel and Wendy Wasserstein are the only women to have done so since the Blackburn Prize was first established."
The 2008 Blackburn Prize finalists include Linda Brogan (Black Crows - U.K.), Lydia Diamond (Stick Fly - U.S.), Bryony Lavery (Stockholm - U.K.), Lisa McGee (Girls and Dolls - Northern Ireland), Linda McLean (Strangers, Babies - Scotland), Julie Marie Myatt (Boats on a River - U.S.), Jenny Schwartz (God's Ear - U.S.), Polly Stenham (That Face - U.K.), Victoria Stewart (Hardball - U.S.) and Judith Thompson (Palace of the End - Canada).
The recipient of the 2008 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize will be announced at a ceremony March 10 at the Alley Theatre. Women in Theatre: Houston Voices is free and open to the public and will feature excerpts from previous Blackburn Prize honorees as well as a reception with the playwrights.
For further information visit www.blackburnprize.org.