Wasserstein award for emerging female playwrights may be given out after all

I wrote on Monday about the decision not to award any of the nominated emerging female playrights the $25, 000 Wasserstein prize.

An uproar in response to their decision ensued, including an online petition with almost 1,500 signatures.

The Theatre Development Fund, who administers the prize, responded and decided to come up with a new evaluation for this year’s prize:

That day [Monday], TDF announced it would reexamine its selection process over the next two months. “Mindful of the concerns of this year’s nominees and the deadline facing the funder as it considers whether or not to renew funding in 2011, we have decided to accelerate the refinement process rather than postpone it to next year and a new group of nominees,” the organization said in a statement. “This year’s nominees will be considered with the refined process.”
Part of the debate about their decision not to award the prize was based on the criteria of the award–they continued to stress that the award is not given to a playwright, but to their play. According to Time Out Chicago, in this new round of evaluation playwrights may be asked to submit numerous scripts, or various drafts of their original script.
I’m glad the public response to this has pushed them to reconsider skipping this year’s award. I hope they come through and some deserving female playwright will have her work supported.

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