NZ Playwright Nominated for Prestigious Prize
NZ Playwright Nominated for Prestigious International Prize
2nd December 2003
Wellington playwright Jean Betts is a finalist in The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize with her 2003 play The Collective.
Now in its twenty-sixth year, this annual international prize, given annually to a woman who deserves recognition for having written a work of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre, has 10-12 finalists with the winner announced in February.
The six judges are usually playwrights, critics and theatre practitioners of the highest renown. For example, in the past they have included Tom Stoppard, Edward Albee, Joanne Woodward, and Michael Billington. Past nominees have included international hits such as Caryl Churchill with Top Girls and Fen, Charlotte Jones with Humble Boy, Marie Jones with Stones in His Pockets and Paula Vogel with How I Learned to Drive. As a direct result of being finalists, many playwrights have gone on to receive productions, grants and public recognition internationally.
The Collective premiered earlier this year at BATS Theatre in Wellington, in a production directed by Jean Betts herself. The play dramatises the assertion that Brecht's plays were in fact written by women writers around him (inspired by John Fuegi's book Brecht and Co). An established New Zealand playwright, Betts is best know for her plays Ophelia Thinks Harder and Revenge of the Amazons.