Saturday
Mar302019

Francesca Primus Prize for an emerging woman playwright

Guidelines for 2019 Applications

The Francesca Primus Prize is an annual $10,000 award honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by an emerging female playwright, one who has not yet achieved national prominence.  

Administered by the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), the prize is made possible through the generosity ofFrancesca Ronnie Primus 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. 

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 2019, a playwright must have had a fully staged, professional production of her script within the calendar year 2018. The committee also considers a body of work going back several years. 

A submission must take 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 2018, only one may be submitted, but excerpts from or reviews of others may be part of the portfolio. Portfolios (including scripts) will not be returned. 

(NOTE that in some previous years, theater artists other than playwrights were invited to apply. In 2017 and thereafter, only playwrights have been considered, although other theater work may be described as part of the applicant’s body of work.)

The 2019 application deadline is June 1.

The committee selects six finalists for the award and then chooses a winner from among them. After receiving the check, the recipient is invited to a subsequent ATCA conference (expenses paid) for a small recognition ceremony. 

To apply, applicants should send an e-mail with their portfolio as a single attachment (PDF file preferred) and the produced playscript as a separate attachment to operations@americantheatrecritics.org. Be sure and include Primus Prize Submission in the subject line. 

Please contact Robert Sokol at  415.964.8040 or via email with questions about the application process. Send any other inquiries to Kerry Reid, the chair of the committee.

We regret to say that the long-time chair of the Primus, Barbara Bannon, has passed away. She was an informed and passionate champion of women in the theater. ATCA and indeed the American theater in general and the Primus more particularly miss her very much. You can read a tribute here.

(NOTE: In the lists below, the prize is dated for the year that the winning work was produced, but it is awarded in the subsequent year.) 

Wednesday
Mar272019

Martyna Majok wins 2017 Primus Prize

Martyna Majok has been awarded the 2017 FrancescaAt Sardi’s: Eric Marciano (representing Barry Primus) and Primus Prize winner Martyna Majok Primus Prize for her play Cost of Living. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman playwright. Majok has received the $10,000 award check and will be officially congratulated at an upcoming ATCA conference. Read full press release here.

Read about the four finalists here.

Friday
Aug112017

Playwright Lauren Yee wins 2016 Francesca Primus Prize

March 14, 2017—The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) has announced that playwright Lauren Yee has been awarded the 2016 Francesca Primus Prize for her play in a word. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and theLauren Yee Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman playwright. Yee will receive the $10,000 award check shortly and be officially congratulated at an upcoming ATCA conference. 

What makes in a word so remarkable is the imaginative and unique way Yee plays with language. Yee says that in a word “captures my interest in both the form and architecture of language….To me, the funny and the painful go hand in hand. I’m interested in how human beings rely on fantasy and humor to get through difficult situations….My work varies wildly in subject matter and style. In each, the language is completely specific to the world of that particular play.”

For a full press release about Yee, in a word and the Primus Prize, click here.

See also a list of the seven finalists.

Yee’s prize was celebrated at the NY weekend conference in 2017. Here she receives her plaque from Primus Prize chair Barbara Bannon (center) and Patsy Kahn, representing Barry Primus and the Primus Foundation. The presentation was at Sardi’s, at the traditional lunch mixing critics and Broadway stars.

Friday
Jan152016

Playwright Sharyn Rothstein wins 2015 Primus Prize

Sharyn Rothstein has won the 2015 Francesca Primus Prize for an emerging woman playwright for her By the Water, which premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Stage II in Nov., 2014. ATCA adjudicates the award. Primus Playwright Sharyn Rothsteincommittee chair Barbara Bannonof Salt Lake City explained that the 2015 announcement came late because of the larger than usual number of contenders.

The six finalists for the award announced earlier, in addition to Rothstein, were Liz Duffy Adams for “A Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World,” Nambi Kelley for her adaptation of Richard Wright’s “Native Son,” Tira Palmquist for “Ten Mile Lake,” Yasmine Rana for “The War Zone Is My Bed” and Catherine Trieschmann for “Hot Georgia Sunday.” 

Click here and scroll down for the full press release.

Friday
Jul262013

Recent Primus Prize winners

Jennifer Haley wins 2014 Francesca Primus Prize

Playwright Jennifer Haley has been awarded the 2014 Francesca Primus Prize for her play The Nether. Haley willJennifer Haley receive the $10,000 award check immediately and be officially celebrated at an upcoming ATCA conference. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman playwright.

[For a history of the Primus Prize, click here.]

The Nether is set in a futuristic world where virtual reality has become more seductive and engrossing than daily life. An admitted pedophile, Sims, has set up a Victorian site called the Hideaway … .

Click here for full press release.

 

Playwright Stefanie Zadravec wins 2013 Primus Prize; director Lear deBessonet also honored

Shepherdstown, WV, July 19, 2013—Today the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) announced at its annualStefanie Zadravecconference, held at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, that playwright Stefanie Zadravec has been awarded the 2013 Francesca Primus Prize for her play The Electric Baby.Zadravec will receive the $10,000 award check immediately and be officially congratulated at an upcoming ATCA conference. 

The committee also gives special commendation to director Lear deBessonet for her exceptional work in expanding theLear deBessonet boundaries of conventional theater to include nontraditional actors; attract a new, broader audience; and involve the community in inventive ways into the dramatic process. 

For full press release, click here.


Playwright Ryan wins 2012 Primus

Chicago, June 14, 2012 — The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) announced at its annual conference today that playwright Tammy Ryan has Playwright Tammy Ryan won the 2012 Francesca Primus Prize for her play Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods. She receives $10,000, a wall plaque and a chance to be celebrated at an upcoming ATCA conference.

Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman theater artist. Playwrights, artistic directors, and directors are eligible.

Ryan’s play poignantly and powerfully integrates a personal story with a current world issue. When single mother Christine meets Gabriel, one of the “lost boys” from Sudan, in the produce section of a Pittsburgh Whole Foods where he works, the two form a relationship that changes both their lives. The play avoids easy, feel-good answers in exploring the very different ways that Christine and Gabriel think he should deal with the challenges he faces. As Pittsburgh theater critic Christopher Rawson observes, “the person who is most truly lost amid middle-class comfort is…Christine… . [The play charts] the faltering, one-forward, one-back steps she takes to find her own usefulness and meaning.”

For full press release, click here.

For a Plaque Party, click here.

 

Caridad Svich wins 2011 Primus Prize

ASHLAND, OREGON, July 8, 2011 – At its annual conference, the American Theatre Critics Association  today announced that playwright Caridad Svich has been awarded the $10,000 Francesca Primus Prize for The House of the Spirits. Svich will receive her check immediately and be celebrated at an upcoming ATCA conference.

Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman theater artist. Playwrights, artistic directors, and directors are eligible to apply.

Svich’s play is a dramatic adaptation of Isabel Allende’s sprawling novel, The House of the Spirits, which follows the fortunes of three generations of a Chilean family, especially its women, against the backdrop of political upheaval that shaped and split the country during the major part of the 20thcentury. That Svich could translate such an encyclopedic work into a concise and emotionally powerful play is admirable enough, but she does it with a wonderful mix of poetry, song, and earthy realism that brings the characters and events that shape their lives to vibrant life.

For the full press release, click here.