Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalists 2024: Top - Alex Lin, Lenelle Moïse, Hannah Moscovitch, a.k. payne and Ava Pickett; Bottom - Roxy Cook, April De Angelis, Justice Hehir, Rhianna Ilube, Jasmine Naziha Jones

Finalists announced for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for playwriting

Ten ten finalists have been announced for the 2024 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the largest and oldest playwriting award recognising women+ writers for plays of outstanding quality written for the English-speaking theatre.

One of the plays, The Divine Mrs S by April De Angelis about famous 19th century actor Sarah Siddons, is coming to Hampstead Theatre from next month, 22 March 2024; and Rhianna Ilube’s new play Samuel Takes a Break… In Male Dungeon No.5 After a Long But Generally Successful Day of Tours, set in Ghana in 2019, starts this week – 9 February 2024, at fringe venue the Yard Theatre in London.

Over 200 plays were submitted, and the ten finalists are:

  • Roxy Cook (UK-Russia) A Woman Walks into a Bank (Submitted by Theatre503, London UK)
  • April De Angelis (UK) The Divine Mrs S (Submitted by Hampstead Theatre, London UK)
  • Justice Hehir (US) The Dowagers (Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York US)
  • Rhianna Ilube (UK) Samuel Takes a Break… In Male Dungeon No.5 After a Long But Generally Successful Day of Tours (Submitted by The Yard Theatre, London UK)
  • Jasmine Naziha Jones (UK) Baghdaddy (Submitted by the Royal Court Theatre, London UK)
  • Alex Lin (US) Chinese Republicans (Submitted by Second Stage Theater, New York US)
  • Lenelle Moïse (US) K-I-S-S-I-N-G (Submitted by Huntington Theatre, Boston US)
  • Hannah Moscovitch (CAN) Red Like Fruit (Submitted by 2b theatre company, Halifax Canada)
  • a.k. payne (US) Love I Awethu Further (Submitted by Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford Connecticut US & Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven Connecticut US)
  • Ava Pickett (UK) 1536 (Submitted by Almeida Theatre, London UK)

Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Court Theatre in London on 11 March 2024.

The winner gets $25,000 and a signed and numbered print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Also a Special Commendation of $10,000 may be given at the discretion of the judges, and each finalist will receive $5,000.

The judges for the 2024 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize are Lyndsey Turner (The Crucible), UK Olivier-Winning director of stage and film; Clare Perkins, UK star of stage and screen; Inua Ellams, UK award-winning poet, playwright and curator; Sarah Mantell, US playwright, and winner of the 2023 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for In the Amazon Warehouse Parking Lot; April Matthis, US Obie-Award winning actor; and Eric Ting, US Obie-Award winning director.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize honours the late American actor, feminist and writer Susan Smith Blackburn, who lived in London during the last 15 years of her life.

The 2023 Prize was won by Sarah Mantell for their play In the Amazon Warehouse Parking Lot.

Previous winners of the Prize include Lucy Prebble, whose play The Effect recently played the National Theatre directed by Jamie Lloyd and is heading to New York; Lucy Kirkwood, the Succession writer who recently scored a National Theatre hit with her book for musical The Witches; Lynn Nottage, who wrote the book for new West End show MJ The Musical, transferring from Broadway next month; and Benedict Lombe, Caryl Churchill, Annie Baker, Julia Cho, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Katori Hall, , Marsha Norman, Dael Orlandersmith, Wendy Wasserstein, Timberlake Wertenbaker and Cheryl West.

Prize Executive Director, Leslie Swackhamer said in a statement: “We are thrilled to present the Prize at the Royal Court, a theatre with an incredible history of developing and producing brilliant new plays by women. . This year’s finalists include three debut plays, and six playwrights who are new to our family of playwrights. Two playwrights were honored as finalists early in their careers, and have gone on to have brilliant careers. This is a vigorous and vital cohort, and we can’t wait to celebrate and honor their work.”

Links:
Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
👤 📅6 February 2024
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📷 Main photo: Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalists 2024: Top - Alex Lin, Lenelle Moïse, Hannah Moscovitch, a.k. payne and Ava Pickett; Bottom - Roxy Cook, April De Angelis, Justice Hehir, Rhianna Ilube, Jasmine Naziha Jones

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