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This Year’s Steinberg Playwright Award: 20 Playwrights Rather Than 1

This year the annual award will be given to 20 playwrights in an effort to meet the immediate needs of writers.

NEW YORK CITY: The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust has announced the recipients of the 2020 Steinberg Playwright Awards. The annual award, which usually recognizes an early-to-mid-career playwright, will celebrate 20 recipients this year instead of one. As previously announced, the 2020 awards are being given in response to this extremely difficult year, in an effort to better meet the immediate and pressing needs of playwrights. Each winner will receive a $10,000 prize.

The recipients of the 2020 Steinberg Playwright Awards are Ngozi Anyanwu, Lucas Baisch, Jocelyn Bioh, Christopher Chen, Jordan E. Cooper, Nathan Alan Davis, Guadalís Del Carmen, Steph Del Rosso, Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Miranda Rose Hall, Aleshea Harris, James Ijames, Candrice Jones, Hansol Jung, Anna Moench, Diana Oh, Madhuri Shekar, Sanaz Toossi, Leah Nanako Winkler, and Rhiana Yazzie.

“In what has been a devastating year for so many, it has been particularly painful to witness the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our theatre community,” said William D. Zabel, a member of the board of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, in a statement. “While we would normally honor one master playwright this year with our $200,000 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, we felt that it was crucial at this time to support and recognize as many playwrights as possible. However, our broad intention and purpose remains the same: to celebrate, encourage, and spotlight exceptional playwriting.”

The 2020 Advisory Committee comprises P. Carl, senior distinguished artist-in-residence, Emerson College; Jeremy B. Cohen, producing artistic director, Playwrights’ Center; Snehal Desai, artistic director, East West Players; Oskar Eustis, artistic director, the Public Theater; Maria Manuela Goyanes, artistic director, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co.; Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director, Young Vic Theatre; Sarah Lunnie, dramaturg; Neil Pepe, artistic director, Atlantic Theater Company; Hana S. Sharif, artistic director, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; and Chay Yew, director.

“In this year of unprecedented challenges, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is truly a shining beacon of light for playwrights in our field,” said Hana S. Sharif, a member of the trust’s 2020 Advisory Committee and artistic director, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, in a statement. “In a year where stage doors are shuttered globally, the decision to shift this year’s Steinberg Playwright Award to celebrate 20 of our industry’s most exciting and innovative voices is a testament to the value playwrights have to our field, to our communities, and to our humanity. This diverse slate of awardees undoubtedly includes voices that will help define the next evolution of the American theatre.”

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