European Drama Award

Laudatories: Thomas Maagh (publisher, Verlag der Autoren), Simon Stephens (jury, writer)

In English, German, French with simultaneous translation into English, German, French
Award Ceremony
Sun – 10. Oct 21
Schauspiel Stuttgart, the drama division of the Stuttgart State Theaters, has introduced a new prize for European Playwrights in 2020. The European Drama Award, funded by the Ministry for Science, Research, and the Arts of Baden- Württemberg, Germany, is endowed with 75,000 euros and shall honor the outstanding dramatic oeuvre of a European dramatist. The European Drama Award is the first generously financed prize which reflects the diversity of dramatic literature in Europe, empowering this medium to facilitate communication between European cultures. In addition to the main prize, Schauspiel Stuttgart also awards a European New Talent Drama Award, endowed with 25,000 euros, funded by the SRH Holding. The award ceremony will be accompanied by several artistic contributions and discussions. Furthermore, we will present Seuls, directed and performed by Wajdi Mouawad, produced by Théâtre national de la Colline.

1st European Drama Award goes to Wajdi Mouawad

Wajdi Mouawad has won the 1st European Drama Award for his outstanding dramatic oeuvre.

Peter Michalzik, chairperson of the jury, explains this decision: “His biography alone – born in Lebanon; later educated as writer, actor, director and theater manager in Canada, where he also met success. He has also been working in France for 20 years and, since 2016, has led the Théâtre national de la Colline in Paris with great success. In his plays, he names the wounds and injuries of the recent past, especially in the Middle East, and brings them to life. These plays are often experimental concepts of reconciliation through truth; Mouawad's dramaturgy is one of healing, which works with great narratives, moments of shock, and pointed constellations. Mouawad creates scenes and plays of overwhelming dramatic impact, while addressing both truth and lies, cultural backgrounds and identity, reconciliation and hostility, with passion and intensity nearly unparalleled by other dramatists. He is an exceptionally productive and extremely committed dramatist, whose versatile oeuvre is clearly rooted in a humanistic heritage that is not limited to Europe. Moreover, Mouawad is one of the most performed playwrights of our time; his plays such as Incendies and Birds of A Kind have also become formal models of inspiration.”

The jury of the 1st European Drama Award 2020 is composed of the following members: Barbara Engelhardt (artistic director of the theatre Maillon Strasbourg), Peter Kümmel (German theatre critic and editor of the art section of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit), Peter Michalzik (author, chairperson of the jury), Petra Olschowski (State secretary for theMinistry for Science, Research and the Arts, German state of Baden-Württemberg) and Thomas Ostermeier (artistic director of the Schaubühne Berlin and director).

The European Drama Award is endowed with 75,000 euros and will be awarded biennially by Schauspiel Stuttgart, the drama division of the Stuttgart State Theaters. To ensure that the prize is awarded in an impartial and transparent manner, the winner is selected through a two-stage selection procedure: first, an international board nominates dramatists for a longlist who meet the following criteria: an oeuvre of excellent literary, dramatic, and theatrical quality, an outstanding international reputation, translations into several languages, and performances in several European countries. In 2020, the advisory board was composed of 23 theater experts such as directors, playwrights, artistic directors, dramaturgs, and theater critics from 18 European countries (see appendix). They nominated a longlist of 44 playwrights from 17 European countries. After evaluating the longlist, an independent jury creates a shortlist (2020: 8 playwrights) and finally selects a winner.

Jasmine Lee-Jones bestowed with new Talent Drama Award

In addition to the main prize, Schauspiel Stuttgart also awards a European New Talent Drama Award, endowed with 25,000 euros. The first dramatist to receive this award is Jasmine Lee-Jones.

2020’s sole jury member, the acclaimed British playwright Simon Stephens, on his decision: “Her debut play, Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner,startled me when I first read it two years ago. It was a brief ten-page play of rage and wit. She wrote with a sparkle and a sense of transgression that was rare and compelling. When it came to be staged at the Royal Court last year I was as impressed as I was startled. She had developed a play from a startling shard into something that was fully wrought and complex. She writes with formal invention. She creates characters that are consistently alive and surprising. Her language is supple and alert. I loved her anger. I loved her insight. When we get out of the strange, sad interruption of COVID it is writers like Jasmine that will help us carve a new way of making plays.”

British writer and actor Jasmine Lee-Jones was born in North London in 1998. She graduated from Guildhall's BA Acting program in 2019. Her debut play, seven methods of killing kylie jenner, premiered at The Royal Court in July 2019, for which she won The Stage Debut Award for Best Writer and the Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play. Jasmine received the Evening Standard Theatre and Critics’ Circle Theatre 2020 Awards for Most Promising Playwright, and has been nominated in 2020 Olivier Awards for the play.

The European New Talent Drama Award is funded by the SRH Holding (SdbR). Prof. Dr. Christof Hettich, CEO of SRH Holding: “The topics of education and health, as well as the further development of society, are very close to SRH's heart – and the arts and culture are decisive motors for this both at national and European level. Young artists in particular analyze our present moment with a fresh and critical view and articulate clearly and courageously where changes are needed. The young artists in particular make it clear to us time and again that we must not be satisfied with the status quo. We are therefore particularly pleased to support young talented playwrights on their paths by sponsoring the European New Talent Drama Award.”
Patronage for the European Drama Award by Winfried Kretschmann,
Minister-President of the State of Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Funded by the Ministry for Science, Research, and the Arts, Baden-Württemberg
and the Friends of the Stuttgart State Theaters.
The European New Talent Drama Award is funded by the SRH Holding (SdbR),
CEO Prof. Dr. Christof Hettich.

Statements by Winfried Kretschmann, Theresia Bauer und Burkhard C. Kosminiski

Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, will take over the patronage of the new European Drama Award: “With the dedicated appreciation of the arts and culture in the form of this new prize, we are sending a strong signal that particularly resonates throughout Europe," said Kretschmann on Wednesday in Stuttgart. "The current political situation in Europe is reflected and revealed with fundamental values such as freedom or a sense of unity through artistic debate within the theater. Contemporary drama plays a prominent role in this. I congratulate Schauspiel Stuttgart on breaking new international ground."

The European Drama Award is funded by the Ministry for Science, Research, and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg, Germany and the Friends of the Stuttgart State Theaters. “The Stuttgart State Theaters have an outstanding reputation in the performing arts worldwide. Transnational co-productions, engaging directors from all over Europe, and reflecting international discourses are integral parts of the State Theaters' and Schauspiel Stuttgart's program,” said Theresia Bauer, Minister of Science, Research, and the Arts. “It is testimony to what Europe represents: a wealth of different cultures, narratives, and histories. It was, therefore, only logical to create a European Drama Award because after all, it is precisely the engagement with European literature that promotes and strengthens understanding between cultures. By sponsoring this European award, the state of Baden-Württemberg can live up to its claim of being a powerhouse of innovation within Europe.”

For Burkhard C. Kosminski, artistic director of Schauspiel Stuttgart and initiator of the European Drama Award, the prize combines two core elements of Schauspiel Stuttgart’s artistic program: promoting contemporary playwrights and strengthening international perspectives. “Europe has a rich and diverse cultural heritage – and what better place than the theater allows this heritage to come alive? Contemporary dramatists in particular unfold the fascinating cultural diversity in Europe while also confronting us with social ruptures and different realities of life. But previously, there existed no substantial European drama prize which allowed playwrights to work with financial independence and on their own terms, besides delivering plays commissioned by theaters. Hence, the European Drama Award was more than long overdue, and I am very grateful to the Ministry for Science, Research, and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg, the Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, the SRH Holding and the Friends of the Stuttgart State Theaters for supporting the idea from the beginning and getting it off the ground.”

Award Ceremony in Stuttgart on 10 October 2021

The award ceremony for the European Drama Award and the European New Talent Drama Award will take place on 10 October 2021 in Stuttgart at the Schauspielhaus.
In addition, Schauspiel Stuttgart has invited the Citizen.KANE.Kollektiv to engage with Wajdi Mouawad’s oeuvre and develop their own performance based on the playwright’s work.
The award ceremony was initially planned as the opening of the European Theater Festival “Writing Europe” at Schauspiel Stuttgart. Unfortunately, the festival with international guest performances and a showcase of productions of the European Ensemble had to be postponed to 2021 due to pandemic-related restrictions.
Wajdi Mouawad © Simon Gosselin
Jasmine Lee-Jones © Helen Murray

International advisory board 2020

1. Vincent Baudriller, France
2. Calixto Bieito, Spain
3. Karen-Maria Bille, Denmark
4. Stefan Bläske, Belgium
5. Stefanie Carp, Germany
6. Ebru Nihan Celkan, Turkey
7. Constantin Chiriac, Romania
8. Maria Delgado, UK, Spain
9. Roman Dolschanskiy, Russia
10. Magnus Florin, Sweden
11. Oliver Frljić, Bosnia
12. Bettina Hering, Switzerland, Austria
13. Wolfgang Höbel, Germany
14. Marius Ivaškevičius, Lithuania
15. Mateja Koležnik, Slovenia
16. Wolfgang Kralicek, Austria
17. Kristina Matvienko, Russia
18. Sir Brian John McMaster, UK
19. Biljana Srbljanović, Serbia
20. Simon Strauß, Germany
21. Itay Tiran, Israel
22. Krzysztof Warlikowski, Poland
23. Franz Wille, Germany

Board members were not allowed to nominate dramatists they have recently been professionally collaborating with.