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Student Wins National Award for Original Play

April 26, 2017

National Not-For-Profit History Matters/Back To The Future Announces 2017 Judith Barlow Prize Winner – Kara Jobe – And Reading At Women’s Project Theater

NEW YORK, NY (April 11, 2017)

Not-for-profit History Matters/Back to the Future has announced the winner of their prestigious annual Judith Barlow Prize – Kara Jobe - an Ohio-based student, currently at Otterbein University who wrote a one-act play inspired by Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour. The organization has also unveiled a new, state-of-the-art website and play library.

A national coalition of theater professionals with an entirely unique mission, History Matters/Back to the Future promotes the study and production of celebrated women playwrights of the past and their plays in colleges, universities, and theaters throughout the country and seeks responses to those plays by contemporary women playwrights.

“History Matters/Back to the Future performs an essential service to both the academic and theatrical communities,” says Founder Joan Vail Thorne. “We ensure that masterworks written by women playwrights of the past are routinely read and taught in colleges and universities and that the women who wrote them are held up as significant contributors to the art of playwriting. With the Judith Barlow Prize, our One Play at a Time Initiative and our newly expanded digital resources, we provide ongoing inspiration and encouragement to students and instructors. We are thrilled to award Kara Jobe the prize for this year for her one-act play, Leaf, inspired by Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour.”

"I am honored and very humbled that History Matters picked my play”, says 2017 Barlow Prize recipient Kara Jobe. “When I first read The Children’s Hour, I became intrigued by Mary Tilford and the way people obeyed her, including the other schoolhouse children, and her rich grandmother. I liked writing something more collaborative, taking another woman’s wonderful work and living with it until I had an idea of my own."

History Matters/Back to the Future’s One Play At A Time: Historic Women Playwrights Initiative challenges professors around the country to dedicate one class period per semester to an historic play by a woman playwright. The women playwrights recommended for study range from well-known writers such as Lillian Hellman and Lorraine Hansberry to less visible playwrights such as Alice Childress and Shirley Graham. More than 100 professors nationally at various universities take part.

The Annual Judith Barlow Prize is awarded to a student playwright for an exceptional one-act play inspired by one of the works taught within the curriculum. Annually, the first place student winner of the prize receives a $2,500 award and a reading of their work in New York City, with a $500 award to the participating professor. The second place student winner receives a $1,000 award. (Applications are accepted between May 1st and December 31sr.)

The winning play, Leaf, will have a free, public reading on April 23rd at 4 pm, at the Women's Project Theater, with a reception to follow. Morgan Gould directs the reading. Award-winning actress Kathleen Chalfant hosts the event. 

Morgan Gould is a writer/ director, a New Georges affiliated artist, an alumnus of the Target Margin Institute for Collaborative Theater Making Lab, the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, The Civilians R + D Group, and the Ensemble Studio Theatre and Playwrights Horizons Directing Residency Programs. Morgan is the Artistic Director of her theater company Morgan Gould & Friends. Last year, Morgan directed Leah Nanako Winkler's Kentucky at Ensemble Studio Theatre (co-production with P73).

Kathleen Chalfant is a Tony-nominated actress for Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. She has won numerous awards including the Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Obie and Lucille Lortel awards for her performance in Wit and acted in critically hailed TV series including Showtime's The Affair and Netflix's House of Cards.

The judge’s panel for the prize this year was Kristin Marting, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, and Michael Sag.

Kristin Marting is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of HERE and a director of hybrid work based in NYC. Under Kristin, HERE has garnered 16 OBIE awards, five Drama Desk nominations, two Berrilla Kerr Awards, four NY Innovative Theatre Awards and a Pulitzer Prize nomination among others.  She teaches Creative Producing at NYU and lectures at Bard, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, and Williams College.

Donnetta Lavinia Grays is an actor and playwright. She has developed work with Labyrinth Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Portland Stage Company, Naked Angels, and Classical Theater of Harlem among others. Her writing credits include Laid to Rest (Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, New Theater Workshop First Mondays, Civilians R&D Group) and Last Night and the Night Before (DCPA Colorado New Play Summit).

Michael Sag was general manager for Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 62nd season. Other general management work includes Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Broadway/Tour), You Can’t Take It With You, All The Way, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Broadway/Tour), The Glass Menagerie; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Glengarry Glen Ross, Driving Miss Daisy, August: Osage County (Broadway/Tour), The Producers, Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, Sweeney Todd, and Stomp.

The Judith Barlow Prize is named for Judith E. Barlow – Ph.D. and a Professor Emeritus of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Albany, SUNY and editor of Plays By American Women 1900-1930, Plays By American Women 1930-1960, and Women Writers of the Provincetown Playhouse. Barlow is also the author of Final Acts: The Creation of Three Late O’Neill Plays, as well as numerous essays on American Drama

For more information on History Matters/Back to the Future, the Judith Barlow Prize, or the play library, http://www.historymattersbacktothefuture.comTeachers interested in joining the One Play at a Time Initiative should visit  http://www.historymattersbacktothefuture.com/oneplayatatime.

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