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Sharifa Yasmin to Receive the Inaugural Barbara Whitman Award From Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation

Sharifa Yasmin (she/her) is a trans Egyptian-American director and playwright.

Sharifa Yasmin to Receive the Inaugural Barbara Whitman Award From Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation

Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, today announced the recipient and six finalists for the inaugural Barbara Whitman Award. Established by theatrical producer Barbara Whitman, the award recognizes a female, trans, or non-binary early-career director who has demonstrated a unique vision in their work with an unrestricted $10,000 cash prize.

Sharifa Yasmin, has been chosen to receive the 2021 Barbara Whitman Award. Yasmin said of her selection, "Being a part of trans and Arab American communities, we are so often told that we don't matter-that our voices are insignificant. I became a director to change what stories are being told, to uplift voices that are so often silenced, to tell myself and my communities that we are here and we deserve to be heard. This award is life-changing for me in that endeavor, both in the recognition of my labor and in the support that enables me to continue this work. I am profoundly grateful to SDCF, Barbara Whitman and this incredible committee for seeing my voice, my goals, my craft, and saying they matter."

Directors Ty Defoe, Miranda Haymon, Tara Moses, Aya Ogawa, Tatiana Pandiani, and Mei Ann Teo were all named as finalists for the award. SDCF received over 100 applications for this award.

Yasmin was selected for this honor by a committee chaired by Barbara Whitman, which also included Christopher Burney, Luis Castro, Mia Katigbak, Moisés Kaufman, Dan Knechtges, Shakina Nayfack, Leigh Silverman, Eric Ting, and Tamilla Woodard.

Says Whitman, "I'm thrilled that Sharifa Yasmin has been named the inaugural winner of this award, and I'm equally excited that we were able to name six other exceptional directors as finalists. The caliber of the applicants was outstanding, and I'm honored to get the chance to help lift up the work of these extraordinary storytellers."

Sharifa Yasmin (she/her) is a trans Egyptian-American director and playwright. She has completed directing fellowships with The Drama League, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Manhattan Theatre Club, Geva Theatre, Pure Theatre, and Hypokrit Theatre, and she is a 2020 Eugene O'Neill national directing fellow. Directing credits include The War Boys by Naomi Wallace, 3:59AM by Marco Ramirez, In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks, for colored girls... by Ntozake Shange, Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts, Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist by Carolyn Gage, and Mosque4Mosque by Omer Abbas Salem. She has assisted directors including Pirronne Yousefzadeh, Steve H. Broadnax III, Saheem Ali, Leslie Ishii, Mark Brokaw, Arpita Mukherjee, Sharon Graci and Meredith Mcdonough. Yasmin's plays have been produced with Uprising Theatre Company, Trans Theatre Fest, Women's Theatre Festival, taught at DePaul University, and published in The Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays. Her short film, Blinding, a series of stories centered around the global impact of COVID-19, is in development with the Antiviral Film Project. Starting Fall 2021, Yasmin will be a MFA Directing Candidate at Brown/Trinity Rep. www.sharifayasmin.com.


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