Sundance Establishes Tennessee Williams Award for Emerging Playwrights

By Adam Hetrick
October 24, 2012

The Sundance Institute has announced the creation of the Tennessee Williams Award, which will recognize the work of emerging playwrights who are alumni of the Sundance Theatre Program Labs. The first honor will be given in April 2013.



"As an independent artist with a singular point of view, Tennessee Williams inhabits much of what Sundance Institute holds dear. The body of his work is timeless and diverse, and his legacy indelible. He was a risk-taker, true to his own creative impulse. In that spirit, we will present the Tennessee Williams Award to an emerging playwright each year with similar ambition, artistic sense and potential," Sundance Theatre Program artistic director Philip Himberg said in a statement.

The award, which will include a cash grant, will be presented to "an emerging playwright who embodies visionary storytelling and is developing a project that engages audiences in a fresh and exciting way."

The first Tennessee Williams Award will be presented during an April 8, 2013, Sundance Institute Theatre Program benefit in New York City. The organization's first New York City benefit was held earlier this year.

The University of the South, the beneficiary of the Williams' estate, granted Sundance permission to use the playwrights' name for the honor. Williams' body of work in includes A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Summer and Smoke and The Glass Menagerie, among others.

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program has nurtured such works as The Light in the Piazza, Spring Awakening, An Iliad, I Am My Own Wife, The Good Negro, Circle Mirror Transformation, Passing Strange, Grey Gardens, Crowns and Marie Antoinette.

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