Theater News

Tena Štivičić Wins the 2015 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Lisa D’Amour’s Broadway-bound ”Airline Highway” was among this year’s finalists.

Tena Štivičić, the 2015 recipient of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
Tena Štivičić has received the 2015 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Playwright Tena Štivičić has been awarded the 2015 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize — the oldest and largest prize awarded to women playwrights — for her play 3 Winters. This year marks the 37th anniversary of the international prize, which is based in Houston, New York, and London.

On March 2, New York's Playwrights Horizons hosted a celebration of the winner and finalists where BAFTA and Emmy Award winner Rebecca Hall (Machinal) — one of this year’s Blackburn Prize Judges — presented Štivičić with an award of $25,000 and a signed and numbered print by artist Willem de Kooning. The international panel of judges also included National Theatre Associate Director Bijan Sheibani, actor Carmen Herlihy, Scottish playwright Rona Munro, U.S. director Liesl Tommy, and Chay Yew, artistic director of Chicago's Victory Gardens Theatre.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman lent introductory remarks as well about the impact of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in spearheading the production of plays by women.

Chosen from over 140 plays, this year's finalists include Lisa D'Amour (U.S.) for Airline Highway; Alice Birch (U.K.) for Revolt. She said. Revolt again; Alecky Blythe (U.K.) for Little Revolution; Clare Barron (U.S.) for You Got Older; Clara Brennan (U.K.) for Spine; Katherine Chandler (U.K.) for Parallel Lines; Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (U.S.) for The World of Extreme Happiness; Lindsey Ferrentino (U.S.) for Ugly Lies the Bone; Zodwa Nyoni (U.K.) for Boi Boi Is Dead; Heidi Schreck (U.S.) for Grand Concourse; and Ruby Rae Spiegel (U.S.) for Dry Land. Each of the finalists receives an award of $5,000.

3 Winters premiered at London's National Theatre. Set in Zagreb, Croatia, between the years 1945-2011, the play creates a portrait of an eclectic family held together by generations of formidable women.

Previous Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winners include the Olivier Award-winning Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood (2014), The Flick by Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker (2013), and The Nether by Jennifer Haley, which is currently running off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and on London's West End at the Royal Court Theatre.