TOPANGA, CALIF.: Botanicum Seedlings, Theatricum Botanicum‘s development series for playwrights, has announced that playwright Paula Cizmar will receive the 2016 Israel Baran Award for her play The Last Nights of Scheherazade. The annual award, now in its sixth year, recognizes an outstanding play from the Botanicum Seedlings development series. The prize, nicknamed the “Izzy” Award, is named for the theatre’s first dramaturg, who passed away in 2007.
“So often I work in isolation—which is necessary for the beginnings of a play—but then I get to a point where I have to hear the thing, to be around people,” Cizmar said in a statement. “Seedlings gave me the luxury of hearing the text for the first time in a safe, supportive environment. I had the chance to pick the brains and hearts of actors and other theatremakers, to dig into the script in a community that really cares about developing new work.”
The Last Nights of Scheherazade was presented last summer in a private developmental reading at the theatre. Set at the edge of the Mojave Desert, it tells the story of a young woman who retreats into storytelling to survive a violent marriage.
Theatricum Botanicum has also announced the opening of its annual submission window for new plays (Sept. 1-Nov. 1). The theatre encourages submissions from playwrights of color and other “underrepresented writers.” Their Seedlings program has a commitment to gender parity, with a goal of having 50 percent or more of its playwrights and directors be women.
Founded in 1973 by actor Will Geer, Theatricum Botanicum presents both new and classic plays, and provides development opportunities for new work.