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.
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.
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).
Isabel is a modern young woman who lives alone and works in a book shop. When she is not pining after a handsome author, she is visiting her grandmother (Bubbe) in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. This irascible granny and her friend the matchmaker have found a “good catch” for Isabel. Her initial reluctance gives way to a blossoming romance when she finally meets Sam the pickle vendor, as the end of the play offers a new beginning.