Houston Women Are Having Their Say

American Theatre, March 2008 | Go to article overview

Houston Women Are Having Their Say


HOUSTON, TEX.: Something special is afoot for the announcement of this year's Susan Smith Blackburn Prize-winner, which will take place at the Alley Theatre of Houston. On March 9 and 10, five Houston theatre companies--in addition to the Alley, the Ensemble Theatre, TheatreLab Houston, Main Street Theater and Stages Repertory Theatre-are hosting city wide readings of new plays by Houston-based female playwrights, alongside the works of Blackburn Prize--winners.

According to Emilie S. Kilgore, who created the prize in 1978 as a tribute to her actor-writer sister, Susan Smith Blackburn, the select group of local writers who were invited to submit short works are receiving $500 honorariums. Considering the prize's international stature (theatre professionals throughout the English-speaking world are asked to submit outstanding plays written by women), this March reading series seeks to reestablish the prize's roots in Houston, where Smith grew up and acted at the Alley and Houston Little Theatre. She died in 1977 at the age of 42.

Now in its 30th year, the Blackburn Prize has been unusually busy of late. …

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