September 15-16, 2017
Lexington, Kentucky

Guest Judge, Finalists Announced for 2017 Prize for Women Playwrights

By Whitney Hale June 8, 2017

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 8, 2017) — Five playwrights have been named finalists for the 2017 Prize for Women Playwrights presented by the Kentucky Women Writers Conference (KWWC). Award-winning playwright Martyna Majok will guest judge this year’s competition, as well as present a workshop at the conference, slated for Sept. 15-16.

Selected from a pool of more than 180 submissions, this year's finalists and their plays are:

  • “Sin Cycle,” by May Donnet-Johnson, of Nashville, Tennessee;
  • “Ghost Walks into a Bar,” by Mora V. Harris, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
  • “Beautiful Savage,” by Kathleen McDonnell, of Toronto, Canada;
  • “Timeless,” by Raegan Payne, of Corona del Mar, California; and
  • “The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons,” by Rachel Teagle, of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The winner of the competition selected by Martyna Majok will receive a $500 cash prize and a full theatrical world premiere of her work directed by Eric Seale this November in Lexington.

Finalists for the 2017 Prize for Women Playwrights were selected blindly by a judging panel of theater professionals. To be eligible to compete, submissions had to be one-act or full-length scripts in English by a woman playwright, with a running time between 45 and 90 minutes, which have not been published or commercially produced. The plays' casts are limited to six actors, and there are no limitations on subject matter. Eligible plays also had to have more than one character.

Born in Bytom, Poland, and raised in New Jersey and Chicago, Martyna Majok is a playwright with the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwright Program at the Juilliard School. She has taught playwriting at Williams College; Wesleyan University; State University of New York, Purchase; Primary Stages ESPA; New Jersey Rep; and as an assistant to Paula Vogel at Yale University. An alumna of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood and Women’s Project Lab, Majok is a core writer at Playwrights Center and a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild of America East and New York Theatre Workshop’s Usual Suspects. A 2012–13 National New Play Network (NNPN) playwright-in-residence and the 2015–16 PoNY (Playwrights of New York) Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center, she has also completed residencies at SPACE on Ryder Farm, Fuller Road, Marble House Project and Ragdale. 

Majok’s plays have been performed and developed at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater/Women’s Project Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Round House Theatre, LAByrinth Theatre Company, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Dorset Theatre Festival, Marin Theatre Company, and New York Stage and Film, among others. Her work has been published by Dramatists Play Service, Samuel French Inc., Theatre Communications Group, and Smith and Kraus Publishers. Majok’s latest play, “Cost of Living,” began previews at Manhattan Theatre Club on May 16.

Majok, who holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Chicago and a master’s degree from Yale’s School of Drama, has garnered many awards for her work including the Dramatists Guild’s Lanford Wilson Award, Helen Hayes Awards' Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical, the inaugural Women’s Invitational Prize at Ashland New Play Festival, Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Award, Marin Theatre’s David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize, New York Theatre Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship, Aurora Theatre’s Global Age Project Prize, NNPN’s Smith Prize for Political Playwriting, Jane Chambers Student Feminist Playwriting Prize, and the Merage Foundation Fellowship for the American Dream. She has also received commissions from Lincoln Center, Bush Theatre (London), Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Manhattan Theatre Club, Marin Theatre Company, The New Yorker website, Ensemble Studio Theatre and Foundry Theatre.

This fall, Majok will present a small-group playwriting workshop at the 2017 Kentucky Women Writers Conference. The playwriting intensive will give writers the tools for writing stories for the stage.