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The Susan Smith Blackburn Finalists

The Susan Smith Blackburn Finalists

This is the 33rd year of the awards that honor the most outstanding English written play by a woman. Julia Cho won the award in 2010.

The 2011 nominees are (descriptions below):
Lisa D’Amour – Detroit, Steppenwolf Theatre Company (U.S.);
Sam Burns – Not the Worst Place, Paines Plough (U.K.);
Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig – Lidless, Marin Theatre Company (U.S.);
Georgia Fitch– Satellite Faith, The Royal Shakespeare Company (U.K.),
Katori Hall – Hurt Village, Signature Theatre Company (U.S);
Lisa Kron – In the Wake, Berkeley Repertory Theatre (U.S.);
Tamsin Oglesby – Really Old, Like 45, The Royal National Theatre (U.K.);
Anne Washburn – Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play , Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (U.S);
Joy Wilkinson – The Golden Age, Everyman Playhouse Liverpool (U.K.); and
Alex Wood – The Andes, Out of Joint (U.K.).

The judges include:
• Jim Simpson, founder and artistic director of the Flea Theatre in NYC;
• Tony Award-winning American stage and film actress and director Judith Ivey;
• Obie-award winning director Anne Kauffman;
• English actress Helen McCrory;
• British critic and author Georgina Brown;
• Stephen Unwin, Artistic Director of Britain’s The Rose Theatre.

Here are the finalists from the Boneau-Bryan Brown website

Lisa D’Amour – DETROIT (U.S.)
Lisa D’Amour is a playwright, solo performer and multidisciplinary theater artist. Her play Detroit opened the 2010-11 season at Steppenwolf Theater, directed by Austin Pendleton. Detroit will be presented on Broadway in the fall of 2011 by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, and Debbie Bisno, in association with Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Projects include Landmark: 24 Hours @ The Stone Arch Bridge, a site-specific performance on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis; Nita & Zita (2003 OBIE Award); and Dream of a West Texas Marsupial Girl. Lisa holds an M.F.A. in playwriting from UT Austin, is a recent alumna of the core membership program at the Playwrights’ Center and an alumna of New Dramatists.

Sam Burns works as an editor for Leaf Books, a small publishing company based in South Wales. She recently was one of the playwrights in Paines Plough’s production Come to Where I’m From, a tapestry of short plays about playwrights’ hometowns. She has also written two novels, one of which, The Story Unmakers, was shortlisted in Susan Hill’s Long Barn Books first novel competition in 2007. She lives in Cardiff, Wales and is currently working on a commission for the Bush Theatre, London.

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig – LIDLESS (U.S.)
Lidless, received the Yale Drama Series Award, an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, the Keene Prize for Literature, and the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize. Lidless, was produced at the Contemporary American Theatre and Edinburgh Festivals and will soon be produced by Interact Theatre in Philadelphia, P73 Productions in New York and Trafalagar Studios on the West End. Her plays have been developed at the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, Seattle Rep, PlayPenn, the Alley Theatre, Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Playwright’s Foundation and Yale Rep. Currently Playwright-in-Residence at the Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, California, Frances holds an MFA in Writing from the James A. Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin.

Katori Hall – HURT VILLAGE (U.S.)
Hall’s play, The Mountaintop, was awarded the Best New Play 2010 Olivier (Britain’s top theatre award). Awards include the 2009-10 Lark Play Development Playwrights of New York (PONY) Fellowship, Kate Neal Kinley Fellowship, two Lecompte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, NYFA Fellowship, Van Lier Fellowship from the Public Theatre and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award. She is a current member of the Lark Playwrights’ Workshop, the Dramatist’s Guild and the Old Vic New Voices program. She is a graduate of the Julliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace playwriting program.

Georgia Fitch – SATELLITE FAITH (U.K.)
Georgia Fitch’s plays produced for the stage include adrenalin …heart (Bush Theatre, London), I Like Mine With A Kiss (Bush Theatre), Dirty Dirty Princess (National Theatre/Connections). Earlier work with Angels Theatre Company includes The Footballer’s Wife, Come Dancing, and Arrivals. (Fitch was the Bush Writer in Residence in 2001 and has been on attachment at both the Royal Court and Soho and had various readings in both theatres. For Radio (BBC) her plays include Romeo and Juliet in Southwark, The Mother of …, Untitled Lover, I Met A Boy, Fortune’s Always Hiding and adrenalin… heart. In 2004 she was Radio Drama’s Writer in Residence.

Lisa Kron – IN THE WAKE (U.S)
Commissioned by Center Theater Group (LA), In the Wake premiered at Kirk Douglas Theater in L.A. and at Berkeley Rep and was subsequently produced in New York by the Public Theater. The play has received a GLAAD nomination for outstanding New York Theater. Lisa’s plays include the Tony-nominated Well and 2.5 Minute Ride (Obie, L.A. Drama-Logue, GLAAD Media Award). Honors include Guggenheim, Lortel, Lark and Sundance fellowships and awards from Creative Capital and the Alpert Foundation. Lisa is a founding member of the Obie and Bessie Award-winning theatre company, The Five Lesbian Brothers.

Tamsin Oglesby – REALLY OLD, LIKE 45 (U.K.)
Oglesby is a two-time Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist. Previous plays include Olive for the National Theatre’s New Connections, The War Next Door at the Tricycle, US and Them and My Best Friend (both at Hampstead Theatre) and Two Lips Indifferent Red at the Bush Theatre. Really Old, Like 45 premiered in 2010 at the National Theatre’s New Connections in London.

Her work has been produced by 13P, A.R.T., Cherry Lane Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, Dixon Place, E.S.T., London‘s Gate Theatre, NYC’s Soho Rep., DC’s Studio Theater, and NYC’s Vineyard Theatre, among others. She has been commissioned by The Civilians, Soho Rep, the Williamstown Theater Festival, and Yale. She is a member of 13P and The Civilians, and an associated artist with New Georges. Her play A Devil at Noon premieres this spring at the Humana Festival in Louisville, KY. Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play was commissioned by The Civilians.

Joy Wilkinson – THE GOLDEN AGE (U.K.)
One of the featured playwrights in The Great Game: Afghanistan, Joy Wilkinson recently completed an attachment at the National Theatre Studio, and is writing a new play for the Liverpool Everyman/Playhouse. Other plays include Fair for Finborough Theatre and the Trafalgar Studios and The Aquatic Ape for the Edinburgh Festival and Worship Ensemble Theater in New York, and Acting Leader for the Tricycle’s Women, Power and Politics. She has dramatized numerous Agatha Christie novels for BBC Radio 4. She is a graduate of the BBC’s inaugural Writer’s Academy and is now a lead writer on Doctors.

Alexandra Wood – THE ANDES (U.K.)
Alexandra is the Playwright-in-Residence at Finborough Theatre. Her play The Eleventh Capital was produced by the Royal Court as part of their Young Writers’ Festival 2007. She was awarded the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright 2007. Other plays include The Lion’s Mouth; Miles to Go, and Unbroken. She spent three months in 2009 on attachment at the National Theatre Studio, where she worked on The Andes.

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