L.A. playwright Jennifer Haley wins Blackburn prize
Jennifer Haley, a Los Angeles-based playwright, is the winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, which recognizes achievements by female playwrights. The prize is for Haley's new play "The Nether," a futuristic crime story.
L.A.'s Center Theatre Group submitted the play for the Blackburn's consideration. Pier Carlo Talenti, CTG's resident dramaturge and literary manager, said that Haley had given him a copy of "The Nether" several months ago.
He described the drama as "part police procedural but also an Internet morality play." He said CTG is planning to produce the world premiere of "The Nether" next season, but no date or venue has been set.
Talenti said that Haley has participated in writer workshops at CTG, but "The Nether" wasn't written as part of those.
Judges for this year's prize included Frances McDormand, Imogen Stubbs and Martha Lavey, artistic director of the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.
Last year's winner of the Blackburn Prize was Katori Hall for her play "Hurt Village." Previous winners include Julia Cho, Sara Ruhl, Paula Vogel, Gina Gionfriddo and Caryl Churchill.
Haley's play "Neighborhood III: Requisition of Doom" -- which, like "The Nether," is set in a sci-fi world -- was produced at L.A.'s Sacred Fools Theater in 2010.
-- David Ng
Photo: Jennifer Haley. Credit: Bing Putney