Playwrights Anne Washburn, Lisa D'Amour, Lisa Kron and Katori Hall Among Ten Blackburn Prize Finalists

News   Playwrights Anne Washburn, Lisa D'Amour, Lisa Kron and Katori Hall Among Ten Blackburn Prize Finalists
The ten finalists for the 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, honoring female playwrights and chosen from over 100 nominated plays, were announced on Feb. 1.

Lisa D'Amour
Lisa D'Amour

The Broadway-bound play, Detroit, by Lisa D'Amour, is on the list of finalists for the 33rd annual awards. Lisa Kron's In the Wake, seen on the West Coast and at The Public Theater, was also named. Katori Hall, whose The Mountaintop is Broadway-bound, was recognized for her play Hurt Village.

The finalists and their nominating theatres are:

Lisa D'AmourDetroit, Steppenwolf Theatre Company (U.S.)

Sam BurnsNot the Worst Place, Paines Plough (U.K.)

Frances Ya-Chu CowhigLidless, Marin Theatre Company (U.S.) Georgia FitchSatellite Faith, The Royal Shakespeare Company (U.K.)

Katori HallHurt Village, Signature Theatre Company (U.S)

Lisa KronIn the Wake, Berkeley Repertory Theatre (U.S.)

Tamsin OglesbyReally Old, Like 45, The Royal National Theatre (U.K.)

Anne WashburnMr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (U.S)

Joy WilkinsonThe Golden Age, Everyman Playhouse Liverpool (U.K.)

Alex WoodThe Andes, Out of Joint (U.K.)

The 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winner will be awarded $20,000, and will also receive a signed print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Prize. Each of the additional Finalists will receive $1,000. A Special Commendation of $5,000 may be given at the discretion of the Judges.

A ceremony honoring all finalists and announcing the winner will take place in New York City on Feb. 28.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize annually honors outstanding new English-language plays by women. For over three decades, the prize has honored and encouraged women playwrights, and raised the visibility of notable new works.

Julia Cho won the 2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her play The Language Archive, which recently completed a limited engagement at Roundabout Theatre Company in New York. Other recipients of the Prize include Chloe Moss' This Wide Night, Judith Thompson's Palace of the End, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti's Behzti (Dishonour), Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House, 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, Naomi Wallace's One Flea Spare, Jessica Goldberg's Refuge, Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, Moira Buffini's Silence and Caryl Churchill’s Serious Money.

The international panel of six judges for the 33rd annual Susan Smith Blackburn Prize includes three from the U.K. and three from the U.S.: Jim Simpson, founder and artistic director of the Flea Theatre in Manhattan; Tony Award-winning American stage and film actress and director Judith Ivey; Obie Award-winning director Anne Kauffman; celebrated English actress Helen McCrory; noted British critic and author Georgina Brown; and Stephen Unwin, artistic director of Britain's The Rose Theatre.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize reflects the values and interests of Susan Smith Blackburn, an 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. Over 300 plays have been chosen as finalists since the prize was founded in 1977. Over 60 of them are frequently produced in the United States today. Seven Blackburn finalist plays have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The authors of those plays, Margaret Edson, Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Paula Vogel and Wendy Wasserstein, are the only women to have won the Pulitzer since the Blackburn Prize was first established.

Each year artistic directors and prominent professionals in the theatre throughout the English-speaking world are invited to nominate plays. Plays are eligible whether or not they have been produced, but any premiere production must have occurred within the preceding year. Each script receives multiple readings by members of an international reading committee that then selects ten finalists. All six judges read each finalist's play.

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