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Dorothy Berwin, Mark Lee, Tom Kirdahy Announce Winners of Third Berwin Lee Playwrights Award

Dorothy Berwin, Mark Lee and Tom Kirdahy are pleased to announce the third 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 Grants awards to playwrights whose work has not yet been produced on Broadway or in the West End. Potential recipients are 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 Penelope Skinner (UK recipient; Village Bike & Linda) and Robert O'Hara (NY recipient; Bootycandy & Barbecue). They will each receive a $30,000 award. Both Skinner and O'Hara were chosen unanimously by the three trustees of the award. 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.

Past winners include Bathsheba Doran (US recipient), Lucy Kirkwood (UK recipient), Stephen Karam (US recipient) and Zinnie Harris (UK recipient).

Biographies

Winners:

Penelope Skinner's newest play, The Ruins of Civilisation premiered in 2016 at the Manhattan Theater Club. Penelope's play, The Village Bike, played a sell-out run at the Royal Court in the summer of 2011 where it received rave reviews and was twice extended. The play won the 2011 George Devine Award, the Charles Wintour Most Promising Playwright at the 2011 Evening Standard Theatre Awards and was nominated at the 2012 Olivier Awards for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. It also had a rehearsed reading at the Manhattan Theatre Club as part of their 7@7 series of readings and received its regional premiere at the Sheffield Crucible Studio in September 2012. It was revived in New York in 2014 by the MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (off-Broadway), directed by Sam Gold and starring Greta Gerwig as 'Becky'. Penelope's first play, Fucked, opened at the Old Red Lion in 2008, was a sell-out smash hit and Critics' Choice in TIME OUT. The play made a triumphant return to the 2009 Edinburgh Festival. Eigengrau played at the Bush Theatre in the Spring of 2010 to critical acclaim and was longlisted for the ES's Most Promising Playwright Award. The Sound of Heavy Rain played at the Sheffield Crucible Studio at the end of November 2011, in a co-production with Paines Plough and subsequently transferred to Shoreditch Town Hall in the autumn of 2012. Fred's Diner, played in the summer of 2012 at the Chichester Festival Theatre's Theatre on the Fly performance space (created especially for their 50th Anniversary celebrations). In 2015 Linda opened at London's Royal Court Theatre and played a sell-out run. It starred West End favourite Noma Dumezweni in the title role and received rave reviews. Her first graphic novel, Briony Hatch, co-written with her sister, Ginny Skinner, has been published by Limehouse Books. Penelope has also written episodes for all four series of Fresh Meat, the Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong comedy for Objective Productions / Channel 4. In 2016, Penelope completed her first short film, The Unicorn, which she wrote and directed. Penelope is currently under commission to Headlong Theatre.

Robert O'Hara has received the NAACP Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, 2 OBIEs and the Oppenheimer Award. He directed the World Premieres of Nikkole Salter and Dania Guiria's In the Continuum, Tarell McCraney's The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2), Colman Domingo's Wild with Happy as well as his own plays, BootyCandy and Insurrection: Holding History. His new plays Zombie: The American and Barbecue, world premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theater and New York Shakespeare Festival, respectively.

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. She is an ambassador at large and chair of the Fashion Centered committee for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York.

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 husband 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 a lead producer on the upcoming Broadway musical, Anastasia. In 2015 he produced Broadway hit It's Only A Play and the five-time Tony Nominated Broadway premiere of The Visit. He is also the producer of the Off-Broadway smash and NYTimes Critic's pick, White Rabbit Red Rabbit. Tom has previously been nominated for Tony Awards for Mother 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), Unusal Acts of Devotion (Philadelphia Theatre Company/La Jolla Playhouse), Corpus Christi(Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), 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 and has spent years working with the LGBT Center to cultivate programs that benefit the LGBT community. He currently serves as the 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.


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