Navajo writer Rhiana Yazzie wins a 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award
The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust
Playwright, Rhiana Yazzie is among the winners of the 2020 Steinberg Playwright Awards. On December 21, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust announced the names of the 20 outstanding early-to-mid-career playwrights. Yazzie is a Minnesota based writer who is also the founder and Artistic Director of New Native Theatre, a 12 year-old Native American theatre company located in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Later next year, Yazzie, who is a multi-disciplinary artist, will be releasing her first feature film, A Winter Love, which she wrote, directed and is starring in, to the 2021 film festival circuit. Raised in the Albuquerque and Farmington areas, Yazzie’s paternal clans are Ta’neeszahnii and Táchii'nii.
From The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust press release:
The “Mimi” Awards are presented annually to playwrights in early and middle stages of their careers who have distinctive and compelling voices, and whose work exhibits exceptional talent and artistic excellence. The awards celebrate the accomplishments of some of the most gifted up-and-coming American playwrights and honor the promise they hold for the future of American theater.
In 2008, the Board of Directors created an advisory committee of seven prominent theater professionals to establish the awards criteria, nominate individual candidates, and select recipients. However, in this unique year the Trust has brought together ten current and former advisory committee members to select this group of talented playwrights.
“These 20 playwrights write with a bold, vital urgency and a common eye towards equity and social justice,” said Snehal Desai, a member of the Trust’s 2020 Advisory Committee and Artistic Director, East West Players. “Individually, their work has called us to bear witness in unforgettable ways, and moving forward, their voices are going to be essential in helping us make sense of all that has transpired this year, and to heal. Collectively, they are a formidable cohort; one that shows us the future of the American theater is in good hands.”
All of the recipients are recipients of the 2020 Steinberg Playwright Awards are Ngozi Anyanwu, Lucas Baisch, Jocelyn Bioh, Christopher Chen, Jordan E. Cooper, Nathan Alan Davis, Guadalís Del Carmen, Steph Del Rosso, Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Miranda Rose Hall, Aleshea Harris, James Ijames, Candrice Jones, Hansol Jung, Anna Moench, Diana Oh, Madhuri Shekar, Sanaz Toossi, Leah Nanako Winkler, and Rhiana Yazzie.
The 2020 Advisory Committee is comprised of P. Carl, Senior Distinguished Artist-In-Residence, Emerson College; Jeremy B. Cohen, Producing Artistic Director, Playwrights' Center; Snehal Desai, Artistic Director, East West Players; Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater; Maria Manuela Goyanes, Artistic Director, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co.; Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director, Young Vic Theatre; Sarah Lunnie, Dramaturg; Neil Pepe, Artistic Director, Atlantic Theater Company; Hana S. Sharif, Artistic Director, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; and Chay Yew, Director.
The Board of Trustees of The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is made up of Carole A. Krumland, Susan C. Frunzi, James D. Steinberg, Michael A. Steinberg, Seth M. Weingarten, and William D. Zabel.
About The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust
The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created by Harold Steinberg in 1986 in his name and the name of his late wife, Miriam. The Trust’s primary mission is to support and promote the American theater as a vital part of our culture by nurturing American playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new American plays, and providing significant support to not-for-profit theater companies across the country.
Since its inception the Trust has given more than $100 million to more than a hundred theater organizations. These gifts have funded countless productions as well as the commissioning of playwrights, playwriting programs, and arts-in-education outreach programs for thousands of children in an effort to create and educate new generations of theatergoers.
The Trust also collaborated with the American Theater Critics Association to create and fund the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. That award is presented annually during the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theater of Louisville. Recipients of this award include E.M. Lewis, Lauren Yee, Michael Cristofer, Qui Nguyen, Rebecca Gilman, Lauren Gunderson, Robert Schenkkan, Yussef El Guindi, Bill Cain, E.M. Lewis, Moises Kaufman, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Lee Blessing, Craig Lucas, Lynn Nottage, Nilo Cruz, Horton Foote, Jane Martin, and Regina Taylor.