NEW YORK CITY: The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust has named Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lauren Yee the recipients of the 2019 Steinberg Playwrights Awards. The selected writers will each receive a cash prize of $50,000, a statuette designed by David Rockwell, and will be honored at the 12th Annual “Mimi” Awards on Jan. 13, 2020.
“The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is deeply honored to recognize the remarkable careers of Jackie and Lauren to date,” said Trustee Jim Steinberg in a statement. “Their work has made an indelible impact in a remarkably short amount of time, and we look forward to watching their powerful ideas continue to influence the lives of all who have the privilege of experiencing them onstage.”
The Awards are presented biennially to playwrights in the early and middle stages of their careers. This year’s advisory committee comprised Hana S. Sharif, artistic director, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Sarah Lunnie, dramaturg; Oskar Eustis, artistic director, Public Theatre; Lynne Meadow, artistic director, Manhattan Theatre Club; Molly Smith, artistic director, Arena Stage; Kent Thompson, theatre director, producer, and author; and Les Waters, theatre director.
Drury is a Brooklyn-based playwright. Her plays include Fairview (Pulitzer Prize, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize); Marys Seacole (OBIE Award); We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915; and Really. Drury’s plays have been presented by Young Vic (upcoming 2019), Soho Rep, Theater for a New Audience, LCT3, Berkeley Rep, New York City Players, Abrons Arts Center, Soho Rep., Victory Gardens, Trinity Rep, Matrix Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Undermain Theatre, InterAct Theatre, Company One, and the Bush Theatre in London, among others.
“I am so honored by this prize; it’s an awe inspiring list of playwrights to be among!” said Drury in a statement. “I’m so grateful to the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for strengthening our theatrical ecosystem by supporting a diverse variety of artists and theatres, and thankful to the committee for their consideration.”
Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band, with music by Dengue Fever, premiered at South Coast Rep, with subsequent productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Victory Gardens, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep, Signature Theatre, Portland Center Stage, and Jungle Theatre. Her play The Great Leap has been produced at the Denver Center, Seattle Repertory, Atlantic Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, and Steppenwolf, with future productions at Long Wharf and Asolo Rep/Miami New Drama. Honors include the Doris Duke Artists Award, Whiting Award, Steinberg/ATCA Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, Horton Foote Prize, Kesselring Prize, Primus Prize, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, and the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List. She’s currently a Residency 5 playwright at Signature Theatre in New York City. Yee is also one of the most-produced playwrights this season.
“Playwrights create the blueprints for worlds shaded in and populated by a village of collaborators,” said Yee in a statement. “That village includes supporters like Steinberg. The Trust has had a huge impact on my work and career, both through this award and through its support of America’s regional theaters. This prize deepens that relationship and focuses me on the work that I might do in the future.”
The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created by Harold Steinberg in 1986 in his name and the name of his late wife, Miriam. The Trust’s primary mission is to support and promote the American theatre by nurturing American playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new American plays, and providing significant support to not-for-profit theatre companies across the country.