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Matthew Freeman Named Winner Of 2021 Kesselring Prize

Freeman will accept the prize during a special ceremony featuring readings of his work on Thursday, December 2 at 7:00 PM.

Matthew Freeman Named Winner Of 2021 Kesselring Prize

The National Arts Club has announced Brooklyn-based playwright Matthew Freeman as recipient of the 2021 Kesselring Prize.

The $25,000 award is given annually by the NAC, since 1980, to an outstanding playwright deserving of national recognition. The Prize also includes a two-week residency and a one-year membership at the historic club in New York City's Gramercy Park.

Freeman will accept the prize during a special ceremony featuring readings of his work on Thursday, December 2 at 7:00 PM.

"As live performances return and theaters reopen their doors, it is our pleasure to continue our support of the theatre community," said Alice Palmisano, President of the NAC. "There is no better place to start than with the playwrights behind the work. We congratulate Matthew and look forward to celebrating his creativity later this year."

Each year, the NAC invites nonprofit theatres across the U.S. to nominate an emerging playwright for the Kesselring Prize, who is then selected by the Kesselring Prize Jury: Tony Award-winning playwright John Guare, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Lincoln Center Theater dramaturg Anne Cattaneo, recipient of the 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship in Theater Arts. Michael Parva, artistic director of The Directors Company in NYC, has been the Kesselring Prize artistic director since its inception.

"We are happy to award the 2021 Kesselring prize to Matthew Freeman for his deeply felt and beautifully realized play Silver Spring," said Guare.

Freeman and his work Silver Spring, an autobiographical exploration of grief and family, were nominated by New Dramatists, where he is a resident playwright.

"It feels somehow significant to receive a prize dedicated to an emerging playwright at a time when emerging is a word that applies to all of us in theater. I'm deeply grateful to the National Arts Club for this honor," said Freeman. "I'm also thankful for the many artists who helped bring this play into the world, and especially to Emily Morse and New Dramatists for providing the greatest resource of all: community."

In addition to his residency at New Dramatists, Freeman was a MacDowell Colony Fellow.

His work has been seen at The Brick Theater, The Access Theater (with Blue Coyote Theater Group), House of Yes, FPAC/The Assemblage in Boston, St. Mark's Church (Incubator Arts Project), Dixon Place, East 4th Street Theater, and 80WSE Gallery.

His plays and monologues have been published by Samuel French, Applause, Smith & Kraus, NYTE, and Playscripts. Plays include Silver Spring, The Sea The Mountains The Forest The City The Plain, That Which Isn't, When is a Clock, The Listeners, The Most Wonderful Love, The Death of King Arthur, and Brandywine Distillery Fire.

Freeman's audio projects have been a part of the HearNow Festival, Atlanta Fringe Radio and the Active Listening podcast. Freeman's podcasts include Places I Have Heard Voices and Predictions.

Freeman is a graduate of Emerson College. He is artistic director of Theater Accident. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, writer Pam Grossman.

The Kesselring Prize was established by Charlotte Kesselring, widow of the playwright Joseph Kesselring (Arsenic and Old Lace), to honor and support emerging writers who are not yet nationally recognized, and provide them with an honorarium and indirect support towards development of their new work. Recent recipients include Mona Mansour (2020), Inda Craig Galvàn (2019), James Ijames (2018), Lauren Yee (2017), Lindsey Ferrentino (2016), and Lucas Hnath (2015). Other past prize winners are Rajiv Joseph, Anna Deavere Smith, Tracy Scott Wilson, Deb Margolin, Nicky Silver, and Melissa James Gibson.

To learn more about the National Arts Club and Kesselring Prize, visit

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