NEW YORK CITY: The 2019 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has been awarded to U.S. playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury for her play Fairview. In a ceremony at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Drury received $25,000 and a signed print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning. The Blackburn Prize is awarded annually to female playwrights working in English-speaking theatre.
Fairview was co-nominated for the Blackburn Prize by Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Soho Rep, which co-commissioned the play; the play ran at both theatres last year. The Soho Rep production of Fairview will get a remount in June at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn. The play begins as a family dinner party, and soon becomes a meditation on race and the white gaze.
The prize also had nine finalists, who each received $5,000: 72 miles to go… by Hilary Bettis (U.S.), Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee (U.S.), ear for eye by debbie tucker green (U.K.), How to Defend Yourself by Lily Padilla (U.S.), Sanctuary City by Martyna Majok (U.S.), Stories by Nina Raine (U.K.), The Phlebotomist by Ella Road (U.K.), The Writer by Ella Hickson (U.K.), and What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck.
The judges for the 2019 Blackburn Prize are: Michael Buffong (U.K.) artistic director of the Talawa Theatre Company; Maria Goyanes (U.S.) artistic director of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre; Tony and Olivier Award-winning stage director Marianne Elliott (U.K.); Jennifer Haley (U.S.), playwright and winner of the 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Nether; actor Tamsin Greig (U.K.) and actor Marin Ireland (U.S.).
The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is named after the American playwright and actor, who lived in London the last 15 years of her life.