Tisch Drama Faculty Member Named Finalist for Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Monday, Feb 7, 2022

Lauren Whitehead
Lauren Whitehead

Assistant Arts Professor Lauren Whitehead has been named a 2022 finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the oldest and largest playwriting prize honoring women+ writing for the English-speaking theatre.

Established in 1978, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is given annually to recognize women who have written works of outstanding quality, according to its website—awarding a total of $70,000 to finalists. The prize is chosen from a group of over 160 plays submitted from around the world.

“It's an incredible honor to be recognized by this prize and to be in the company of not only the other writers this year, but also all the luminaries who have been recognized by this prize in the past,” Whitehead said. “So many of the playwrights that I love (and teach!) have been Blackburn Prize recipients or finalists, and it's humbling to be among them in this way.”

Encouraging women to write for the theatre, the award and its permanent list of finalists—numbering well over 300 plays—has become an important resource for theatres interested in new work. Many playwrights have received productions, grants, and public recognition, establishing the award as a highly regarded international competition. 

In addition to teaching at Tisch Drama, Whitehead is a writer, performer, and dramaturg, and writes in several forms including poetry, nonfiction, adaptations, and drama.