Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) announced that Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, who earned her MFA in playwriting from the University of Iowa, was one of the first two winners of Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries, an international playwriting competition designed to create a modern canon of companion pieces for each of Shakespeare’s 38 plays.

Hamilton’s 16 Winters or the Bear’s Tale, partner to The Winter’s Tale, will premiere in the 2019 spring season.

The American Shakespeare Center, home of the Blackfriars Playhouse, a recreation of Shakespeare’s indoor playhouse, launched the competition in 2017 to inspire the world’s playwrights to compose original works in conversation with Shakespeare’s classics and in keeping with his staging conditions. The contest attracted nearly 200 submissions.

Each playwright receives a cash prize of $25,000 and travel and housing to be in residence in Staunton, Virginia, during the workshop and rehearsal periods. 

Hamilton lives in Brooklyn, New York, and her credits include We ThreeThe PlanOne of the Women and The Quiet Ones. A Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at the Juilliard School and a Jerome New York Fellow at the Lark, Hamilton is working on a commission from Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., an NYSCAS commission through Page 73, and is a member of Ars Nova Playgroup. She was the 2005–09 recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship and has participated in the O’Neill Theater Conference, Youngblood, I-73, New Georges’ the Jam, and Play Penn.