Theater News

Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, and More Named 2015-16 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalists

Ten female playwrights make this year’s short list for the prestigious award.

Lynn Nottage is among this year's Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalists for her new drama Sweat.
Lynn Nottage is among this year's Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalists for her new drama Sweat.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has announced 10 finalists for its prestigious playwriting award, the oldest and largest prize awarded to women playwrights. Chosen from over 150 nominated plays, the finalists are as follows:

Sarah Burgess (U.S.) — Dry Powder
Rachel Cusk (U.K.) — Medea
Sarah DeLappe (U.S.) — The Wolves
Sam Holcroft (U.K.) — Rules for Living
Anna Jordan (U.K.) — Yen
Dominique Morisseau (U.S.) — Skeleton Crew
Lynn Nottage (U.S.) — Sweat
Suzan-Lori Parks (U.S.) — Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1,2 & 3)
Bea Roberts (U.K) — And Then Come The Nightjars
Noni Stapleton (Ireland) — Charolais

The international panel of judges for the 2015-2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize includes critic and author Kate Bassett; Jeremy Herrin, artistic director of Headlong Theatre; and celebrated stage and screen actress Tanya Moodie. The panel of U.S. judges includes actress and filmmaker Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha), Tony award-winning director Sam Gold (Fun Home), and Obie award-winning playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Gloria).

The winner of the 2015-16 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize will be named at an awards presentation on February 22 at the National Theatre in London. The winner will be awarded a cash prize of $25,000, and will also receive a signed print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Each of the additional finalists will receive an award of $5,000.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, cofounded by Emilie S. Kilgore and William Blackburn, 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 350 plays have been honored as finalists since the prize was instituted in 1978. Recent winners include Lucy Kirkwood's Olivier Award-winning play Chimerica (2014-15) and Annie Baker's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama The Flick (2012-13).