CHICAGO: American Blues Theater has named Idris Goodwin the recipient of the 2017 National Blue Ink Playwriting Award. Goodwin’s play HYPE MAN, about about a controversial police shooting creating tensions between an interracial hip-hop trio, was selected from a pool of 543 submissions. He will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and the opportunity to develop his script with the company.
The annual prize, established in 2010, supports new work. Producing artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside and the ensemble members of the company select the winner from submissions of original, unpublished full-length plays.
“We’re honored to announce Idris Goodwin’s script as the 2017 winner,” said Whiteside in a statement. “Idris’s script is both heartbreaking and humorous with characters impossible to forget. The themes resonate empathy and a call to action.”
Goodwin is a playwright, poet/performer, and essayist. His play How We Got On was developed at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and premiered at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 2012 Humana Festival. His other works include Blackademics, This Is Modern Art (co-written with Kevin Coval), And in This Corner: Cassius Clay, Bars and Measures, and The Raid. He is one of seven playwrights featured in the widely presented HANDS UP!, an anthology commissioned by the New Black Fest and published by Samuel French. Goodwin has received support from the NEA and Ford Foundation, and has been awarded an American History Cycle Commission from Oregon Shakespeare Festival and InterAct Theater’s 20/20 Prize. His work has been produced and/or commissioned/developed with Steppenwolf Theatre, the Kennedy Center, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor Program, La Jolla Playhouse, the Lark Playwriting Center, the Playwrights’ Center, and New Harmony Project. He is an assistant professor in the department of theatre and dance at Colorado College.
“I am of course honored and grateful, but mostly I am charged up,” said Goodwin in a statement. “I want to use the theatre as a venue to wrestle with our national sicknesses but also a place to nod heads in unison, as we collectively imagine towards liberation. HYPE MAN, this latest entry into my break beat plays series, exemplifies this desire. I can’t wait to further refine the play with the indomitable American Blues Theater, in one of the greatest cities for art.”
Submissions for the 2018 Blue Ink Playwriting Award open on July 1. All submissions must be received by American Blues Theater by August 31. Playwrights may only submit one manuscript each year for consideration.