Ifa Bayeza Announced as American Theatre Critics Association Finalists for 2020 Francesca Primus Prize

Ifa Bayeza

The American Theatre Critics Association has selected three finalists for the 2019 Francesca Primus Prize, which recognizes an emerging woman playwright. The prize, administered through ATCA, is named in honor of Francesca Primus, a playwright, dramaturg, theater critic, and ATCA member who died of cancer in 1992.

The Primus Prize has been adjudicated by ATCA since 2002. The award includes a $10,000 honorarium given through the generosity of the Primus Foundation. The winner, selected from this year’s three finalists, will be announced by early August. This year’s finalists are: Jennifer Barclay for Ripe Frenzy, which had its rolling world premiere through the National New Play Network at Boston’s New Repertory Theatre, Atlanta’s Synchronicity Theatre, and Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles; Ifa Bayeza for Benevolence, which premiered with Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul; and Stephanie Alison Walker for The Madres, which also had a rolling world premiere with the National New Play Network with Chicago’s Teatro Vista, Skylight Theatre Company in Los Angeles, MOXIE Theatre in San Diego, and Shrewd Productions in Austin, Texas.

Read more from Broadway World here.

Congratulations to Vickie Ramirez, the Recipient of The National New Play Network 2020 Smith Prize for Political Theater !

 National New Play Network, the country’s alliance of professional theaters that collaborate in innovative ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays, announces the winner of the 2020 Smith Prize for Political Theater: Vickie Ramirez.

“The Smith Prize for Political Theater is a program that has been urgent and necessary since its inception,” said NNPN Executive Director Nan Barnett. “The resonance and vision that Vickie’s project will contribute to the American theater is especially vital at this time. We are thrilled to welcome her and her work into the Network.”

Elisa Blandford, the Managing Producer of Native Voices at the Autry, the NNPN Member Theater that nominated Ramirez for the prize, said: “Vickie demands audience exploration of what it means not only to be American, but also to be human in a society that was ravaged by the atrocities of colonialization and the separation of Indigenous communities from mainstream culture. She poses challenging, political, and divisive questions – questions with no one clear answer, allowing for continued audience dialogue when the play ends.”

Ramirez is the 15th recipient of the Smith Prize for Political Theater, established in 2006 by Timothy Jay Smith and a group of socially conscious donors to encourage emerging playwrights to tackle the pressing issues of our times.

The full press release is available here.

FST Announces the Playwrights Project Featuring Tom Gibbons, Bruce Graham, Sarah Bierstock & Jason Odell Williams

The Playwrights Project is Florida Studio Theatre’s newest artistic initiative, employing 33 of the country’s top playwrights, sketch comedy writers, and musical theatre developers, including Tom Gibbons, Bruce Graham, Sarah Bierstock, and Jason Odell Williams, as full-time staff writers. Over the course of this eight-week project, each artist will write and deliver a first draft of an original play, sketch comedy piece, or cabaret. The material generated during this time will be considered for future production in FST’s Mainstage, Cabaret, Sketch Comedy, and Children’s Theatre programs.

In addition to working as staff writers, Playwrights Project artists will enhance FST’s online educational offerings by leading workshops, tutorials, and contributing to virtual classes. The artists will also participate in online forum discussions and special Q&A sessions with small invited audiences.

For more about the Playwrights Project, click here.

“The project was conceived within the first few days of the theater shutting down due to COVID-19,” said Richard Hopkins, FST’s producing artistic director. “FST, like the rest of our nation, was brought to a sudden standstill. Three days after closing the theater, I had a revelation about Shakespeare — he, like every good artist, instead of following the dark and writing about the plagues of his time, took the road less traveled and followed the light. He wrote, without judgment, about the wonder of humankind. Which made me think that now is the time for FST to inspire the creation of plays. To ask playwrights to write like Shakespeare and reveal humanity’s complexities without judgment.”

Read more about this from the Venice Gondolier here.

Playwrights’ Center Announces 2020-23 Core Writers including Mashuq Mushtaq Deen

Mashuq Mushtaq Deen

The Playwrights’ Center has announced seven playwrights who will be company’s 2020-23 Core Writers. Sharon Bridgforth, Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, Andrew Rosendorf, Riti Sachdeva, Charly Evon Simpson, Crystal Skillman, and Jonathan Spector will join the program aimed at supporting playwrights who demonstrate a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence.

“I am so excited to welcome back Andrew and Riti to the Center as well as welcome Deen, Charly, Crystal, Sharon, and Jonathan—all of whose work I have deeply admired for a long time,” said producing artistic director Jeremy B. Cohen in a statement. “They are all incredible writers, and I look forward to seeing each of them grow as artists over the next three years.”

During the three-year tenure, Core Writers receive play development workshops, the opportunity to be part of the PlayLabs festival or the Ruth Easton New Play Series, and the chance to connect with Playwrights’ Center’s network of producing theatres.

Deen is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a 2019 Lambda Literary Award Winner. His full-length plays include Flood (upcoming; Kansas City Rep, 2021), The Empty Place (NYU commission), The Betterment Society (upcoming publication), The Shaking Earth (postponed production, National Queer Theater, 2021), and Draw the Circle (productions: PlayMakers, Mosaic, Rattlestick; published: DPS; winner Lambda Literary Award).

Read the full article from American Theatre here.

Congratulations Deneen Reynolds-Knott! Your play, BABES IN HO-LLAND has been selected for the 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival!

Playwrights Foundation, the West Coast’s premiere launchpad for exceptional plays and playwrights announces the lineup for the 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF), featuring playwrights Tyler English-Beckwith, Stefani Kuo, Jordan Ramirez Puckett, Deneen Reynolds-Knott, and Noelle Viñas. The 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival runs July 17-26, 2020 in an online format worldwide . The Festival offers public readings in addition to panel discussions and surrounding online events on Facebook Live. Pay What You Can tickets will go on sale starting June 1st.

The 43rd Annual festival is Playwrights Foundation’s Executive Artistic Director Jessica Bird Beza’s first. “The move to an all online experience for both artists and audience is in a way a paradigm shift,” says Bird Beza, ” I am excited for the opportunities this moment presents to create a wider access and platform for these much needed stories of love, perseverance, and self discovery to be heard.” As the nature of theater and theatricality changes, Playwrights Foundation continues to be dedicated to emerging playwrights and the development of new work. Selected out of 735 submissions, this year’s lineup consists of an all female group of playwrights whose voices have a platform.

Deneen Reynolds-Knott is a member of Clubbed Thumb‘s 2019-2020 Early-Career Writers’ Group and received a finalist grant from their 2018 Open-Application Commission. She is a New Georges affiliated artist and has developed work with Liberation Theatre Company’s Writing Residency, Project Y’s Playwrights Group, Rising Circle’s INKtank Development Lab and Frank Silvera Workshop’s 3in3 Playwright Residency. Her full-length play, BATON, was selected for the 2018 Premiere Play Festival and received a workshop reading at Premiere Stages, the 2017 Playfest at the Orlando Shakespeare Company, and was a finalist for the 2017 PlayPenn and Bay Area Playwrights conferences. Deneen’s play, ANTEPARTUM, was presented at the 2020 Fire This Time Festival as part of their signature ten-minute play program. She received her MFA in film from Columbia University.

Read the full article from Broadway World San Francisco here.