The American Playwriting Foundation, established to make annual grants to new American plays, has created The Relentless Award, the largest annual cash prize in American theater awarded to a playwright in recognition of a new play. Established in honor of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and his pursuit of truth in the theater, The Relentless Award will honor an unproduced play with $45,000, laying the groundwork for the future of American Theater.
• The author of the Relentless Award-winning play will receive $45,000.
• The winning playwright will have the option to have the winning play published by the Dramatists Play Service.
• The winning playwright will have a week-long residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm, an artist residency program housed on a working organic farm in Brewster, New York. The author can elect to have a director, a dramaturg and actors join him or her while in residence on the farm.
• The selected play will have a national roll-out through the Ed Vassallo Relentless Reading Series, established to help bring to life and develop the winning play by presenting a series of staged readings at some of the top theaters across the United States.
• When the winning play is selected, three runners-up will also be named.
The American Playwriting Foundation is now open for submissions, and the deadline is July 10, 2015. Three finalists and one winner will be announced on October 2, 2015.
The Play Selection Committee is comprised of some of America’s top playwrights, including Eric Bogosian, Thomas Bradshaw, APF Executive Director David Bar Katz, Lynn Nottage, John Ortiz, John Patrick Shanley, Jonathan Marc Sherman, and Lucy Thurber. This committee will seek out plays that are challenging, and plays that are, as the name would have it, relentlessly truthful. The American Playwriting Foundation will consider submissions from any playwrights who wish to participate and meet the submission criteria, but the committee will place a special emphasis on works from first time playwrights and underrepresented voices.
The winning play will receive the most extensive national roll-out in American theater, receiving staged readings at some of the most esteemed theaters in the country. The current participating theaters that will roll out The Ed Vassallo Relentless Reading Series include The American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco (ACT), Asolo Repertory Theater, The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Goodman, The Huntington, The Wilma, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, The New Group, and The Williamstown Theater Festival. Along with the cash earnings, the author of The Relentless Award-winning play will have the option to have their work published by the Dramatists Play Service.
Any unproduced play written by a United States citizen is eligible for The Relentless Award. Each play must be submitted with a letter from a theater professional (anyone who has worked in theater in any artistic capacity for a minimum of four years) recommending the play. This submission process allows The Relentless Award to cast the widest net possible, making it among the most populist prizes in the American theater.
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The American Playwriting Foundation’s Artistic Advisors are composed of theater professionals who were all friends and collaborators of Philip Seymour Hoffman, including Peter DuBois, Scott Elliott, Robert Falls, Mandy Greenfeld,Ethan Hawke, Dan Klores, Gregory Mosher, and Austin Pendleton.
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Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
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