Ucross, a prestigious artist residency program and creative laboratory for the arts in Wyoming, and The Blank Theatre, a Los Angeles institution celebrating 31 years of imaginative theatre, today announced the second annual Ucross + The Blank Theatre – Future of Playwriting Prize, a one-of-a-kind award for emerging playwrights nationwide. Ucross and The Blank have partnered to showcase the importance of emerging artists across the country and to celebrate the innovative work that is asking questions and evolving theatre as we know it. Submissions for the national prize open November 8 and run through December 20.
The award is given annually to an emerging playwright (ages 21 to 30) who best personifies the “Future of Theatre:” someone whose voice will shape theatre for decades to come, and who will bring new thoughts and views to the American theatrical conversation. Eligibility and submission guidelines can be found at TheBlank.com.
The chosen playwright will receive a $5,000 cash award, a professionally produced staged reading in The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series (a new play development program), and a two-week residency at Ucross’s 20,000-acre ranch at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains (including transportation). Two additional finalists will be selected to each receive a $500 cash prize. There is no entry fee.
Though originally designed to honor an individual winner, last year saw two winners named. They were Kori Alston, a writer and poet whose work takes a particular interest in the way in which young people of color process trauma, and Dave Osmundsen, an autistic playwright and dramaturg whose work explores the intersections of queerness and neurodiversity.
“The Blank has always supported and believed in young playwrights as seen through our Young Playwrights Festival and the incredible work we’ve produced over the years,” said Daniel Henning, the founding artistic director of The Blank Theatre. “This award, developed alongside the Ucross team, profoundly impacts young, emerging voices by offering them monetary support, uninterrupted time and space during a residency, and a platform to showcase their work.”
“Ucross is thrilled to sponsor this annual award with The Blank, as it expands our long-standing support of new and emerging artists across disciplines,” said Sharon Dynak, president of Ucross. “For years we have watched the amazing work and development happening at The Blank and are excited to welcome a winning playwright to our campus each year.”
At Ucross, artists in residence experience an inspiring combination of solitude and community, with expansive time for private work, as well as lively exchanges at group dinners with fellow artists. Facilities include four visual arts studios, four writers’ studios, and two composers’ studios, and a large loft space suitable for dance and theatre collaborations.