Schauspiel Stuttgart, the drama division of the Stuttgart State Theaters, has introduced a new prize for European playwrights. 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.
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.
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.”