EXCLUSIVE: The prestigious Yale Drama Series Prize for emerging playwrights has announced eight contenders selected for its first-ever short list.
Prize organizers opted this year to announce the short list, rather than the traditional announcement of the winning play only, to “better reflect the pluralism of its applicant pool, and to provide a broader context about the state of the American Theater at the emerging level.”
Also for the first time, the play selections were chosen by a six-member judging panel rather than one playwright. Past winners were chosen by such playwrights as Edward Albee, David Hare, Marsha Norman and Paula Vogel.
Each of this year’s six judges are all past winners of the Yale prize, and each read more than 250 playwriting contenders.
The eight plays selected for the short list are:
- Jordan Ramirez Puckett’s A Driving Beat
- Lilly Camp’s All Eight
- Matthew Paul Olmos’ a home what howls (or the house that was ravine)
- Seayoung Yim’s Jar of Fat
- Candrice Jones’ A Medusa Thread
- Libby Heily’s Midnight Showing
- Aaron Coleman’s Tell Me I’m Gorgeous at the End of the World
- Iraisa Ann Reilly’s The Jersey Devil is a Papi Chulo
The short list was compiled from more than 1,500 submissions from 56 countries. The winner of the 2022 Prize will be announced at a later date, with excerpts of the eight plays to be available for reading on the New Play Exchange website beginning on February 27.
The members of the judges panel are 2008 prize winner Neil Wechsler; 2009 winner Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig; 2010 winner Virginia Grise; 2017 winner Jacqueline Goldfinger; 2018 winner Leah Nanako Winkler; and 2021 winner Rachel Lynett.
In a joint statement, the panelists said, “We were overwhelmed by the level of talent and ingenuity amongst the submissions, and there was simply no way that we would be able to reflect the sheer diversity of work by choosing one winning play. As the theater world struggles to become ever more inclusive, we hope this Short List serves to alert the public to a wide cross-section of emerging playwrights who together represent a massive field of different backgrounds, points-of-view, and creative impulses. What they all share is a commitment to the theatrical artform and a knack for creating wildly compelling work.”
The Yale Drama Series Prize, now in its 15th year, is presented in cooperation with Yale University Press and is solely sponsored by the David Charles Horn Foundation. The winner receives the David Charles Horn Prize of $10,000, as well as publication of the winning play by Yale University Press and a staged reading.
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