UNION, N.J.: Premiere Stages at Kean University has announced two winners of the Bauer Boucher Playwriting Award. They are current Kean University student Emily Niemeyer and Kean University alum Emily Conklin. The award, established in 2014 and named after Premiere Stages donors W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, will give Niemeyer and Conklin cash prizes of $1,000 and $2,000 respectively. This year marks an expansion of the award from one winner to two.
In addition to the cash prize, the two winners received public readings of their plays performed by Equity actors, followed by a talkback with the audience and Premiere Stages artistic director, John J. Wooten, who directed the readings.
Niemeyer’s reading took place on Jan. 21 at Premiere Stages. Her play, Appointment at Three, is based on the true story of her own experiences with her mother’s battle with ovarian cancer. The play examines the shared humanity between two families who are brought together in their fights against cancer.
Conklin, who received the Bauer Boucher Award in 2016 for her play Onyx Falling, received a reading of her new play on Jan. 23 at Premiere Stages. Her new play, Fight Like a Girl, is based on the life of 17th-century opera singer and sword fighter Julie d’Aubigny.
Premiere Stages takes submissions from playwrights who currently attend or have recently graduated from Kean University. In addition to the current student who receives $1,000 and the alumnus who receives $2,000, additional playwrights can be selected as finalists and receive $100.
Wooten noted the expansion of the award gives Kean students and alumni “enhanced visibility, dramaturgical feedback, access to professional artists, and financial recognition of their plays.”