The 2023 Yale Drama Series Prize has chosen Slave Play playwright and Tony nominee Jeremy O. Harris to serve as presiding playwright. Harris will gather an international group of readers who will be responsible for helping to evaluate this year's submissions.
Harris will ultimately select this year's winner of The Yale Drama Series Prize, which is awarded each year to a play by an emerging playwright. As part of the prize, the winner will receive the David Charles Horn Prize of $10,000, Yale University Press will publish the winning play, and the play will receive a staged reading. The international competition, held annually, receives original, unpublished, full-length, English-language plays from invited emerging playwrights. Entries are evaluated blindly.
“If only the entire theatre world was as democratic, meritocratic, and pluralistic as the Yale Drama Prize,” says Harris in a statement. “There is an entire generation of playwrights who have been fighting to be heard, especially in light of the pause button pushed by the pandemic, and this is our opportunity to thrust a chosen few directly into the global cultural conversation. These are the next artists who will change the way we think and, when given the chance, move the world into a new era. I can’t wait to start devouring their work.”
Harris himself is an alum of the Yale Playwrighting Program where he earned his MFA in 2019. While in the program, he wrote Slave Play, which was originally produced at Yale in 2017, and subsequently had Broadway runs in 2019 and 2021. His play, Daddy, recently opened its U.K. premiere in London at Almeida Theatre.
In a statement, Francine Horn, president of the David Charles Horn Foundation, said, “I am so delighted that Jeremy O. Harris, one of the great iconoclasts of our time, now joins the ranks of the many distinguished playwrights who have served in this role before him, including Edward Albee, David Hare, John Guare, Marsha Norman, Nicholas Wright, Ayad Akhtar, and, most recently, Paula Vogel. Jeremy has already pushed the theatrical artform forward with his own work, and now his singular vision will have a hand in shaping what’s to come.”
The Yale Drama Series Prize is a playwriting award presented in cooperation with Yale University Press. David Charles Horn Foundation is its sole sponsor. The prize celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.