Sunday, February 5, 2012

Susan Smith Blackburn Finalists Announced

The 2012 finalists for the Susan Smith Blackburn prize, which carries an award of $20,000 to the winning playwright, have been announced. They include one Irish, five American and four British playwrights.

This year's finalists are:

Johnna Adams (U.S.), for "Gidion’s Knot," submitted by The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Alice Birch (U.K.), for "Many Moons," submitted by Theatre 503 in London.

Madeleine George (U.S.), for "Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England," submitted by Clubbed Thumb in New York.

Jennifer Haley (U.S.), for "The Nether," submitted by Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.

Nancy Harris (Ireland), for "No Romance," submitted by the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

Zinnie Harris (U.K.), for "The Wheel," submitted by National Theatre of Scotland.

Molly Smith Metzler (U.S.), for "Close Up Space," submitted by Manhattan Theatre Club.

Meg Miroshnik (U.S.), for "The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls," submitted by Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.

Jaki McCarrick (U.K.), for "Belfast Girls," submitted by King’s Head Theatre in London.

Alexis Zegerman (U.K.), for "The Steingolds," submitted by Playful Productions of London.

The Blackburn prize is awarded annually to "recognize women who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre." Previous finalists Margaret Edson, Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Paula Vogel and Wendy Wasserstein went on to win Pulitzer Prizes after their Blackburn honors.

Plays are nominated by professional theaters, and nominated scripts are then read by an international panel of judges. The 2012 judging panel includes familiar names like Martha Lavey, actress and Artistic Director of Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago; actress Frances McDormand, who won the Best Actress Oscar for "Fargo;" Ben Power, Associate Director of Britain's National Theatre; and actress Imogen Stubbs, who has played Desdemona for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Stella opposite Jessica Lange in "Streetcar," as well as appearing as Viola in the 1996 film version of "Twelfth Night."

For more information about the nominated playwrights, click here. You can also read what judge Randy Gener (an award-winning writer, editor and critic) thought about the process here. He's not telling who won, though! That will be announced in London on February 28th.

The art you see with this post is an original Willem DeKooning lithograph created just for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. The winning playwright gets the lithograph in addition to the $20,000 cash prize.

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