(for past Primus winners, scroll down)
The Francesca Primus Prize is an annual $10,000 award honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by an emerging female theater artist, one who has not yet achieved national prominence.
Administered by the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), the prize is made possible through the generosity of the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, which honors the writer, critic, performer, dramaturg and cherished ATCA member who died at 42 of lung cancer in 1992.
Historically the award has been given to an outstanding female playwright, but the committee also considers other significant female theater artists, such as directors or artistic directors. The Primus Prize operates on an open submission basis—an applicant may submit herself or be nominated by another individual or organization. Members of ATCA are eligible to nominate or provide letters of recommendation.
To qualify for consideration in 2013, a playwright must have had a fully staged, professional production of her script within the calendar year 2012. For other artists, there must also be some significant achievement in the calendar year. But in either case, the committee will also consider a body of work going back several years.
A submission must be in the form of a portfolio of no more than 20 single-sided pages. It should include a letter recommending the candidate, a synopsis of her body of work, and supporting materials sufficient to familiarize the committee with her achievement, possibly including reviews and/or a statement of the artist’s philosophy. In addition (beyond those 20 pages), playwrights should also submit the produced playscript. If more than one play was produced in 2012, only one may be submitted, but excerpts from or reviews of others might be part of the portfolio. Portfolios (including scripts) will not be returned.
The application deadline is usually March 15.
The winner will be announced at a national ATCA conference, and the check mailed soon thereafter. The recipient will then be invited to a subsequent ATCA conference (expenses paid) for a small ceremony in recognition.
To apply, send six copies of an applicant’s entire portfolio—script included—along with a processing fee of $25 (checks made payable to ATCA) to ATCA, c/o Barry Gaines, 12809 Northern Sky NE, Albuquerque NM 87111-8089 (505-856-2101; email@example.com .
Send inquiries to Barry Gaines; to Primus Prize chair Barbara Bannon, Salt Lake City, firstname.lastname@example.org; to ATCA chair Jonathan Abarbanel, Chicago, email@example.com; or in a pinch to firstname.lastname@example.org.