Cho's The Language Archive Earns 2010 Blackburn Prize

News   Cho's The Language Archive Earns 2010 Blackburn Prize
Playwright Julia Cho has been awarded the 32nd Annual Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her work The Language Archive.
Julia Cho
Julia Cho Photo by Aubrey Reuben

A two-time Blackburn finalist, Cho received the award of $20,000 and a signed and numbered print by artist Willem de Kooning at a March 3 ceremony in New York. Tony Award-winning director Doug Hughes, who is one of the Blackburn judges, presented Cho with the honor.

The Language Archive will make its world premiere at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA, March 25-April 25, under the direction of Mark Brokaw.

The work centers on "a linguist who discovers words may not be enough as his marriage crumbles and his career encounters a certain silence of its own."

Cho's plays also include The Piano Teacher, Durango, The Winchester House, BFE, The Architecture Of Loss and 99 Histories. The Roundabout Theatre Company originally commissioned The Language Archive.

The 2010 finalists (who received a $1,000 honor) included Annie Baker The Aliens; Melissa James Gibson This; Lucy Kirkwood it felt empty when the heart went at first but it is alright now; Young Jean Lee The Shipment; Rebecca Lenkiewicz The Nature of Love; Hannah Moscovitch East of Berlin; Lizzie Nunnery The Swallowing Dark; Lucy Prebble Enron; and Abbie Spallen Strandline. In addition to Hughes, the 2010 judges included Tony nominee Hope Davis, BBC radio host and critic Mark Lawson, New Dramatists artistic director Todd London, British stage director Indhu Rubasingham and Olivier Award-winning actress Fiona Shaw.

Previous Blackburn Prize winners include Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Caryl Churchill, Gina Gionfriddo, Beth Henley, Wendy Kesselman, Marlene Meyer, Ellen McLaughlin, Susan Miller, Chloe Moss, Dael Orlandersmith, Sarah Ruhl, Judith Thompson, Paula Vogel, Naomi Wallace and Timberlake Wertenbaker.


Established in 1978, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is the first international award created to recognize women playwrights. The 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. She died in 1977 at the age of 42, and her sister, Emilie Kilgore, and husband, William Blackburn, established the award in her honor.

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