Selina Fillinger Wins 2015 Judith Barlow Prize; Kathleen Chalfant to Direct Play Reading, 5/3

HISTORY MATTERS/BACK TO THE FUTURE, a coalition of theatre professionals, announced the winner of the 1st annual Judith Barlow Prize is Selina Fillinger, a student at Northwestern University, who wrote a one-act play inspired by Sophie Treadwell's play Machinal. Ms. Fillinger will receive $2,500, a trip to New York City and a staged reading of her play on Sunday, May 3rd at 3 pm at Helen Mills Theater, 139 West 26th Street, NYC. Award-winning actress Kathleen Chalfant will direct the reading which is free and open to the public.

The cast for the reading of "Three Landings and a Fire Escape" on May 3rd at 3 PM will be Jennifer Lim (Bway: Chinglish, recently starred Off-Broadway in MTC's The World of Extreme Happiness), Beth Dixon (Bway: The Royal Family, Major Barbara) and Maria-Christina Oliveras (Bway: Machinal, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Off- Broadway: The Civilian's Pretty Filthy, Here Lies Love).

To reserve complimentary tickets for the reading at the Helen Mills Theater, 139 West 26th Street, go to Reservations are recommended.

Ms. Fillinger's professor at Northwestern, Laura Lodewyck, who will receive $500, said: "Selina's work is an excellent example of a talented and driven young artist poised to infiltrate the existing canon of contemporary American plays. I am thrilled that the Historic Women Playwrights Initiative and the Judith Barlow Prize motivated Selina to create this play, and I hope that this experience will inspire her to look to historical female artists for her future work." The runner up for this year's Judith Barlow Award, Jaime O'Brien of University of South Florida, receives $1,000. The student playwrights and their professors are participants in the One Play at a Time initiative which promotes the study and production of women's plays of the past in colleges, universities and theatres throughout the country and encourages responses to those plays from contemporary women playwrights.

The selection committee for the 1st Judith Barlow Price included Lisa McNulty, Artistic Director of the Women's Project; Tamara Tunie, actor; and writer and feminist activist, Sallie Bingham.

Professors participating in the One Play at a Time initiative are asked to dedicate one class period per semester to a historic play by a woman playwright. The women playwrights recommended for study range from such well-known writers as Lillian Hellman, Claire Booth, Lorraine Hansberry, Sophie Treadwell and Gertrude Stein to less visible playwrights like Alice Childress, Rachel Crothers and Shirley Graham among others.

One Play At a Time, an historic women playwrights initiative, was launched in Fall 2013, and has already attracted over 100 participating professors from the University of Georgia, Ithaca College, Colgate University, Northwestern University, De Pauw University, and the University of Buffalo among others. Participating educators are given sample lesson plans and additional support materials. Educators have the added incentive of the new Judith Barlow Prize to encourage them to explore and teach these women writers.

Teachers interested in joining the One Play at a Time initiative should visit

The winner of the Barlow Prize must be a current or recent student of a participating professor to be eligible to apply. Submissions for the 2016 Barlow Prize must be submitted by December 30th, 2015. The application form for the Judith Barlow Prize is available at 2016 winners will be announced in April, 2016.

Professor Emeritus of English and Women's Studies at the University of Albany, SUNY, Judith Barlow received her B.A. from Cornell University and her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. She was the editor of Plays By American Women 1900-1930, Plays By American Women 1930-1960, and the author of Final Acts: The Creation of Three Late O'Neill Plays and Women Writers of the Provincetown Players, as well as numerous essays on American Drama.

Kathleen Chalfant, who will direct the reading of Ms. Fillinger's play, received the Drama Desk, OBIE, Lucile Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance in WIT, as well as Tony and Drama Desk nominations for ANGELS IN AMERICA. She has been working with History Matters/Back to the Future since 2012, appearing in Forgotten Treasures, an evening of scenes from historic women playwrights. Ms. Chalfant said: "History Matters/Back to the Future reminds us of these remarkable works of art that have fallen out of the canon. People have forgotten that women write for the theatre and have always written for the theater."

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