Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lilly Awards

So last night was the Lilly Awards in NYC, which describes itself on Facebook as "An annual awards party to celebrate the work of women in the American theatre." Lest we forget the discussions we had surrounding Outrageous Fortune, let's take a look at the educational background of the six winners in the playwriting category:
  • Melissa James Gibson graduated from Columbia University and from the Yale School of Drama with an M.F.A. in Playwriting.
  • Chisa Hutchinson got her undergraduate degree at Vassar and an MFA in playwriting from NYU.
  • Deborah Zoe Laufer is a graduate of The Juilliard School.
  • Annie Baker graduated from the Department of Dramatic Writing at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
  • Sarah Ruhl studied under Paula Vogel at Brown University (A.B., 1997; M.F.A., 2001)
  • Young Jean Lee attended college at UC Berkeley, where she received an Phd in English. She went on to receive an MFA from Mac Wellman's playwriting program at Brooklyn College.
  • Lucy Thurber -- I was unable to find any information on her educational background.
So here's the list in another form:
  • Columbia
  • Yale
  • NYU
  • Julliard
  • Brown
  • Brooklyn
It isn't that these playwrights are not deserving -- I'm certain they are -- or that they all have privileged backgrounds -- several of them don't. But rather that the track of success in the field is very, very narrow. If we are looking for diversity in our plays, we just might want to look at diversity in the way our playwrights are educated.