Archive for February 17th, 2009

2009 Susan Smith Blackburn Finalists

17th February 2009

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has announced the ten finalists for its 2009 playwriting awards, which are given annually to recognise women from around the world who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre. This year over 100 international plays were submitted for consideration.

The finalists are:

Anupama Chandrasekhar for Free Outgoing (India)
Anupama is a runner-up for the London Evening Standard’s Charles Wintour Prize 2008 for the Most Promising Playwright for Free Outgoing. The play was also short-listed for the Peter Wolff-John Whiting Award in the UK.

Lucinda Coxon for Happy Now? (England)
Lucinda has worked at the Bush Theatre, Soho Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre, and the National Theatre in London. Happy Now? won the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain 2008 Best Play Award.

Ann Marie Healy for What Once We Felt (U.S.)
Ann Marie is a five-time finalist for Actors Theater of Louisville’s Heideman Short Play Award and a finalist for The Perishable Theater’s International Women’s Playwriting Festival. She is a member of MCC’s Playwrights Coalition.

Michele Lowe for Inana (U.S.)
Inana recently premiered at the Denver Center Theatre. Her play String of Pearls received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play. Her work appears in New Playwrights/The Best Plays of 2005 (Smith & Knaus, 2006), The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2005 (Smith & Knaus, 2006) and Monologues for Women by Women (Heinemann, 2004).

Elizabeth Meriwether for Oliver! (U.S.)
Elizabeth is a recipient of the Newsday Oppenheimer Award for her play Heddatron. She is currently working on commissions from the Yale Repertory Theatre, Ars Nova, and Manhattan Theatre Club.

Chloe Moss for This Wide Night (England)
Chloe is a previous Blackburn Prize Finalist for her play, How Love is Spelt. A graduate of the Royal Court young writers programme, she has been a writer-in-residence at the Bush Theatre and Paines Plough and also writes for television.

Lynn Nottage for Ruined (U.S.)
Lynn has been honoured with a MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius Grant’ Award, the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels award for Literary Excellence, two ATT Onstage Awards, a Heideman Award, and numerous best play awards, including the OBIE. She is a previous Blackburn Prize Finalist for her play Mud, River, Stone. Ruined is currently running at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

Kaite O’Reilly for The Almond and the Seahorse (Wales)
Kaite has won various awards for her work, including the Peggy Ramsay Award for YARD (Bush Theatre, London), Manchester Evening News Best New Play of 2004 for Perfect (Contact Theatre Dir. John McGrath) and Theatre-Wales Best Play of 2003 for peeling (Graeae Theatre, dir. Jenny Sealey).

Amy Rosenthal for On The Rocks (England)
Amy has been a playwright-in-residence at the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre and was a resident writer at the Royal National Studio. Her play, Henna Night, received a Sunday Times Drama Award.

Esther Wilson for Ten Tiny Toes (England).
Esther is best known as lead writer on the hard-hitting docu-drama Unprotected, which premiered at the Liverpool Everyman in March 2006. It raised the national debate on proposed safety zones in city centres for street sex workers and went on to win the Amnesty International Award for Freedom of Speech at the Edinburgh Festival that summer.

The 2009 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize awards will be marked with a ceremony in London on February 25th. Star of stage and screen and Blackburn Prize Judge, Sigourney Weaver, will present the awards. The winner will be awarded $20,000, and will also receive a signed and numbered print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. A Special Commendation of $5,000 may be given at the discretion of the judges, and each of the additional finalists receives $1,000.


17th February 2009

All members of the Guild are invited to attend The Year of Women in Theatre: a catalytic project that aims to unite the theatre industry in a permanent redress of gender-balance in the onstage artform.

The 2010 PROJECT Development Meetings will take place in two locations:

The Twenty-Ten Group – a pro-active, non-producing organisation – is promoting the 2010 PROJECT. It aims to make contact with every artistic director, associate and freelance director, producer, programmer, playwright, publisher, agent, casting director and other industry professionals across Ireland to inspire a concerted, creative response to this challenge.

The industry needs to redress the imbalance of the employment of women actors, directors and writers, and to create full and fair representations of women and womanhood in society.

If you wish to attend the Dublin Project Development Meetings please RSVP at info @

Otherwise email (twentytengroup @ Helen Alexander, the 2010 PROJECT Director, or phone her on: +44-20-8543-4085 / +44-7876-128-418