Australian playwright Shannon Murdoch wins the Yale Drama Series Competition 2011

Shannon Murdoch, winner of the Yale Drama Series Competition for emerging Playwrights

The winner of the Yale Drama Series Award for Emerging Playwrights is Shannon Murdoch’s New Light Shine.

Shannon Murdoch’s play won the $10,000 prize and will be published by Yale University Press next year. New Light Shine, was selected from more than 870 submissions by Tony-winning playwright John Guare, and will receive a staged reading on 12 September at Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven.

Murdoch, a legal assistant who lives in Footscray, Victoria, says she feels “incredibly fortunate” to win. Murdoch’s play deals with four small-town lives linked through a violent crime and their hopeless attempts to erase the past and build new lives. According to Guare, “The raw, haunting, richly poetic, deeply emotional, New Light Shine affected me as no other entry did.”

This was Guare’s first year judging the competition. Author of such renowned plays as House of Blue LeavesSix Degrees of Separation, and Landscape of the Body, John Guare won the Tony Award for ‘Best Book of a Musical’ for Two Gentlemen of Verona and wrote the book for the musical Sweet Smell of Success.

The award-winning playwright John Guare will be the 2012 judge

Guare will also be judging the 2012 Yale Drama Series competition, which opens this year. Submission dates run from 1 June – 15 August 20101. The competition is open to original, unpublished and unproduced full-length English plays from writers across the world. For further information look at Yale’s blog entry from last week.

Previous winners of the award include John Austin Connolly’s The Boys from Siam (2007), Neil Wechsler’s Grenadine (2008) and Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s Lidless (2009) which was also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. All three of these plays can be found in the Yale Drama Series and are available to buy from Yale University Press.

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