NEW YORK CITY: Lynn Nottage has been awarded the 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her play Sweat. The prize, which is in its 38th year, celebrates female playwrights who have written works for the English-speaking theatre.
Actor Tanya Moodie, who was also one of this year’s judges, presented Nottage with the $25,000 prize and a signed and numbered print by Willem de Kooning at the National Theatre in London on Monday. This year’s finalists were Sarah Burgess for Dry Powder; Rachel Cusk forMedea; Sarah DeLappe for The Wolves; Sam Holcroft for Rules for Living; Anna Jordan for Yen; Dominique Morisseau for Skeleton Crew; Suzan-Lori Parks for Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3); Bea Roberts for And Then Come the Nightjars; and Noni Stapleton for Charolais. Each finalist received a $5,000 award.
In addition to Moodie, the 2016 judges were Kate Bassett, Jeremy Herrin, Greta Gerwig, Sam Gold, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.
Co-commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arena Stage, Sweat follows a group of workers in Reading, Pa., who are faced with the loss of their jobs as the city’s local steel mill undergoes changes.