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Otterbein sophomore Kara Jobe awarded Judith Barlow Prize

Otterbein sophomore Kara Jobe awarded Judith Barlow Prize


Not-for-profit History Matters/Back to the Future has announced the winner of their prestigious annual Judith Barlow Prize, Kara Jobe of Otterbein University. She wrote a one-act play inspired by Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour.

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."

"In class, Kara asks great, complex questions about the historical artists we study,” says Otterbein Professor of Theatre Jessie Glover. “In her play Leaf, Kara explores a set of themes that Lillian Hellman unpacked in her play The Children's Hour - themes that have a different but still vital kind of resonance in our current moment."

Christina Kirk, Chair of the Otterbein University Department of Theatre and Dance says this latest award for Jobe is a testimony to the breadth and range of her talent.

"Kara is an exceedingly creative and gifted young artist. Whether she is writing or performing, she brings sophistication and subtlety to her work. Kara's recent performance in Otterbein University Theatre's production of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls is an excellent example of Kara's nuanced and textured approach as an artist.”

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.