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Stephen Karam & Zinnie Harris Honored With 2015 Berwin Lee Playwrights Award Tonight

Stephen Karam & Zinnie Harris Honored With 2015 Berwin Lee Playwrights Award Tonight

Dorothy Berwin, Mark Lee and Tom Kirdahy recently announced the second winners of the Berwin Lee Playwrights Award. The Berwin Lee Award was created to foster and promote the craft of playwriting in both the United States and the United Kingdom and to encourage the writing and production of plays.

Berwin Lee will grant awards to playwrights whose work has not yet been produced on Broadway or in the West End. Potential recipients will be identified through recommendations from chosen theatre companies in New York, NY and London, UK and recommendations from Berwin Lee's advisory board which includes Maria Arena Bell, Sandra Brant, Dominic Cooke, Gary Garrison, Joyce Hytner, Cherry Jones, Mel Kenyon, Donna Murphy and John Tiffany.

This year's winners are Stephen Karam (US recipient) and Zinnie Harris (UK recipient). They each will each receive a $25,000 award. Both Karam and Harris were chosen unanimously by the three trustees of the award based in part on recommendations from the Artistic Directors of Lincoln Center Theatre in New York and The Royal Court Theatre in London. Each recipient will receive the award in the form of a commission, with no specific time frame attached so that they have the freedom to write the plays they want to write without restriction.

A reception will be held in their honor in New York City tonight, March 19, 2015.

Berwin, Lee and Kirdahy also celebrate the critically acclaimed production of The Mystery of Love & Sex, currently running at Lincoln Center Theatre. The Mystery of Love & Sex is written by Bathsheba Doran who was the first recipient of the Berwin Lee Award in 2013.

In a shared statement, Berwin, Lee and Kirdahy said "We are thrilled to announce our second awards to two exceptional talents Stephen Karam and Zinnie Harris. These grants are consistent with our desire to see Berwin Lee London New York Playwrights Inc. help to foster and develop new plays from talented playwrights on both sides of the Atlantic. The four winners to date are all individual and unique theatre voices who share a passion for their art form and perhaps a certain muscularity of vision. We also heartily congratulate and celebrate Bathsheba Doran and Lincoln Center Theatre on her play The Mystery of Love and Sex which was written with the support of the Berwin Lee Award made in 2013. "

2015 WINNERS:

Stephen Karam is the author of Sons of the Prophet, a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and the recipient of the 2012 Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel and Hull-Warriner Awards for Best Play. Other plays include Speech & Debate (the inaugural production of Roundabout Underground), columbinus, and Dark Sisters, an original chamber opera with composer Nico Muhly. His new play, The Humans, premiered in Chicago at American Theater Company and will open in New York at Roundabout Theatre Company in October of 2015. Stephen is a MacDowell Colony fellow, and the recipient of the inaugural Sam Norkin Drama Desk Award. Born and raised in Scranton, PA, he's a graduate of Brown University.

Zinnie Harris is a playwright and theatre director. Her celebrated early play Further Than the Furthest Thing (which toured from the Traverse theatre to the National Theatre) won her the Peggy Ramsay Playwriting and John Whiting Award in 2001. Her most recent play, How to Hold Your Breath, premiered at the Royal Court Jerwood downstairs in 2015. Other plays include The Wheel (2011, National Theatre of Scotland), which won a Fringe First; an adaptation of A Doll's House (2009, Donmar Warehouse); Midwinter (2004, RSC), which won an Arts Foundation Fellowship Prize for Playwriting; and By Many Wounds (1999, Hampstead Theatre). Zinnie's television work includes two 90 minute dramas for Channel 4, Born With Two Mothers and Richard Is My Boyfriend; episodes for the BBC One Drama Series SPOOKS; and work as lead writer on the series Partners in Crime (based on the Agatha Christie novels Tommy and Tuppence), for Endor / BBC 1 (to be broadcast in 2015), starring David Walliams.

TRUSTEES:

Dorothy Berwin, President and Founder of InFilm Productions, was an entertainment lawyer before entering the industry herself. Her company InFilm has produced several films, including the upcoming features 'Three Generations", currently in post production, directed by Gaby Dellal and co-written by Nikole Beckwith and Gaby Dellal, starring Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon, and Elle Fanning, and 'Testimony', in active development, also directed by Gaby Dellal and written by Ben Ross. She is also Executive Producer of the 2015 film 'Carol', directed by Todd Haynes and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Other important works have included 'On a Clear Day', directed by Gaby Dellal with a cast including Peter Mullan and Brenda Blethyn, a film which film opened the Sundance film festival in 2005 and was shown at Piazza Grande at the Locarno Film Festival 2005, Sarajevo Film festival 2005, and had a Gala Screening at Edinburgh Film festival 2005. 'On A Clear Day' won the Scottish BAFTA Award for Best Film and received nominations for Scottish BAFTA Best Director and BIFA Best New Director. Berwin also produced 'Safety of Objects' directed by Rose Troche, adapted from AM Homes' book of short stories, starring Glenn Close, Patty Clarkson, Dermot Mulroney and Kristen Stewart in her first film role. In competition at San Sebastian film festival, also Toronto film festival and Deauville winner of best actress award for Patty Clarkson. Berwin also produced 'Bedrooms and Hallways' written by Robert Farrar, directed by Rose Troche, starring Hugo Weaving, Tom Hollander, and Simon Callow. The movie won the audience award at the London Film festival and was in Sundance main competition. Her other films include 'Walking and Talking' written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, starring Catherine Keener, Liev Schreiber and was in Sundance festival main competition and 'Wisdom of Crocodiles' starring Jude Law also in numerous film festivals and recipient and multiple awards. Berwin joined the Lincoln Center Theatre Board in 2011.

Mark Lee is a lifelong impassioned theatre devotee and supporter of the arts in addition to his long career in luxury fashion. Mark Lee joined Barneys New York as Chief Executive Officer in September 2010. Prior to Barneys he served as Chief Executive Officer of the global Gucci brand from 2004 to 2008. Lee previously held leadership positions within the Gucci Group including Chief Executive Officer of Yves Saint Laurent S.A.S. from 1999 to 2004. Lee began his career in the buying office at Saks Fifth Avenue and also served in senior management roles at Jil Sander America Inc. and Giorgio Armani Corporation. Mark Lee was born and raised in San Francisco, CA and moved to New York City in 1980 to attend New York University where he graduated in 1984. Mark was also Co-Executive Producer of the 2011 documentary film Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel. Together with his life partner Ed Filipowski, Mark has been a producer of the Broadway productions of Mother's and Sons and It's Only A Play.

Tom Kirdahy is currently the lead producer of Broadway's runaway hit, It's Only A Play, as well as the upcoming Broadway premiere of The Visit, opening this Spring. Tom has previously been nominated for Tony Awards for Mothers and Sons, After Midnight, as well as his revivals of Ragtime and Master Class on Broadway. Additionally, Kirdahy was lead producer of the West End revival of Master Class starring Tyne Daly. Additional Credits include The Visit (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Deuce (marking Angela Lansbury's return to the stage), American Fiesta (Vineyard Theatre), Unusual Acts of Devotion (Philadelphia Theatre Company/La Jolla Playhouse), Corpus Christi (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), Afraid of the Dark (London's West End), and Some Men at Second Stage Theatre (Drama Desk nomination, Best Play). He is also a founding director of Berwin Lee London New York Playwrights, Inc. Kirdahy studied politics and dramatic literature at New York University and is a graduate of NYU School of Law. As an attorney, Kirdahy spent nearly two decades providing free legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS. He is the Vice Chair of The Broadway League Government Relations Committee.

BERWIN LEE LONDON NEW YORK PLAYWRIGHTS, INC was founded in 2012 by Dorothy Berwin and Mark Lee.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

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