Playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury Wins Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for 'Fairview'

Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes
MaYaa Boateng in 'Fairview'

The meta-theatrical discourse on race and representation played sold-out 2018 runs at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California and Soho Rep in New York.

The 2019 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, an international award that recognizes outstanding work by female talent working in English-language theater, has been given to Brooklyn-based playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury. 

At a ceremony held at Shakespeare's Globe in London, Drury received the award plus a $25,000 cash prize for her play Fairview.

The meta-theatrical work, which begins as a comedy about an African-American family and morphs into a provocative discourse on race, representation, identity and performance that smashes through the fourth wall, drew wide praise from critics, landing on the year-end Top 10 lists of several publications.

Fairview was commission by Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California and Soho Rep in New York, where it played sold-out runs in 2018, extending three times at the latter. The production will begin a return engagement June 2 at Brooklyn's Theatre for a New Audience and will open at London's Young Vic in November.

Drury's play was one of 160 submitted for consideration. She was recognized along with nine finalists who received $5,000 each. In addition to the cash prize, Drury was given a signed print by Willem de Kooning. 

The prestigious award is named after the noted American actress and writer who lived in London during the last 15 years of her life and died in 1977. Previous winners include Alice Birch, Lynn Nottage, Sarah Ruhl, Caryl Churchill, Annie Baker, Lucy Kirkwood and Paula Vogel. 

Drury's latest play, Marys Seacole, runs through April 7 in its world-premiere production at the Claire Tow Theater at New York's Lincoln Center.