The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has announced 10 Finalists for its prestigious playwriting award, now celebrating its thirty-fifth year.
The ten Finalists for the 2012-2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, chosen from over 100 nominated plays, are the following:
Karen Ardiff (Ireland), The Goddess Of Liberty; Annie Baker (U.S.),The Flick; Jean Betts (New Zealand), Genesis Falls; Deborah Bruce (U.K.),The Distance; Katherine Chandler (U.K.),Before It Rains; Amy Herzog (U.S.), Belleville; Dawn King (U.K.), Foxfinder; Laura Marks (U.S.), Bethany; Jenny Schwartz (U.S.), Somewhere Fun; and Francine Volpe (U.S.)The Good Mother.
The Winner of the 2012-2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on March 17 at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas. In celebration of the 35th Anniversary, selected excerpts from this year's Finalists' plays will be presented prior to the Awards Presentation by five of Houston's professional theatre companies.
The 2012-2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Winner will be awarded $25,000, and will also receive a signed print by celebrated artist Willem De Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Each of the additional Finalists will receive $2,500.
The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, co-founded by Susan's sister and husband, Emilie S. Kilgore, and William Blackburn, honors an outstanding new English-language play by a woman each year. For well over three decades, the Prize has encouraged women playwrights and drawn attention to notable new works. Many of the Winners have gone on to receive other honors, including Olivier, Lilly, and Tony Awards for Best Play. Seven Blackburn Finalist plays have subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. These plays also benefit from the interest the Prize generates, often leading to productions at theatre companies throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
The international panel of Judges for the 2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize includes, in the U.S., Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Producer of the Manhattan Theatre Club; Tony Award-winning actress, Cynthia Nixon; and award-winning Broadway and Regional stage director, Michael Wilson.
U.K. judges are Laura Collier, Head of The National Theatre Studio; Matt Wolf, London editor of broadway.com, and London theatre critic of the International Herald Tribune; and BAFTA Award-winning actor and writer, Susan Wooldridge.
The Susan Smith Blackburn 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. Over 300 plays have been chosen as Finalists since the Prize was instituted in 1977. Over 80 of them are frequently produced in the United States today.
"The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has done more than any other single force to get plays by women collected and celebrated, but more importantly, produced." - Marsha Norman, 1983 Winner, 'night Mother
To celebrate the Prize's 35th Anniversary, theatres around the world have been producing works by playwrights honored by the Prize. Over 75 productions by Winners and Finalists have been produced by theatres on both sides of the Atlantic during the 35th Anniversary Year. In Houston alone, (where Susan grew up and first became involved in Theatre), The Alley Theatre, Stages Repertory Theatre, Main Street Theater, Stark Naked Theatre, The Ensemble Theatre, Musiqa, Theatre Southwest, The University of Houston and Sam Houston State University are all producing plays for this global initiative.