Critics’ Bestows Thousands of Dollars In New Play Award

The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) has awarded more than $40,000 in 2022 prizes to four playwrights. Chiara Atik has received the Harold and Mimi Steinberg / American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award for Poor Clare, and Makasha Copeland received the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for Extreme Home Makeover.

The Steinberg/ATCA award comes with a $25,000 prize and recognizes an outstanding script that had a professional premiere outside New York City. ATCA has been honoring new plays produced by regional theatres outside New York city since 1977, and the awards have been funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust since 2000. Inspired by the religious awakening of St. Clare by St. Francis of Assisi, Poor Clare premiered at Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles.

Named in honor of new-play advocate M. Elizabeth “Betty” Osborn, the Osborn Award comes with a $3,000 prize and recognizes the work of an up-and-coming playwright who has not yet received a major production or national awards. Extreme Home Makeover premiered at Theatre Exile in Philadelphia. The play follows members of a Tejano family as they struggle with the death of their patriarch and find opportunity in a reality television program.

Two Steinberg/ATCA citations along with $7,500 prizes were awarded to David Templeton’s Galatea and Erlina Ortiz’s Young Money. Galatea premiered at Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park, Calif., and is a science fiction mystery about a robot who learns what it means to be human. Young Money premiered at Azuka Theatre in Philadelphia, and follows a hip-hop star and her cleaning lady, brought together during a crisis.

The 2022 awards were presented during South Coast Repertory’s Pacific Playwrights Festival on April 9.

Chiara Atik is a New York-based blogger, author, and playwright. Her plays include Five Times in One Night, BUMP, Poor Clare, and WOMEN, a mashup of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and HBO’s Girls. Chiara’s writing has been featured in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, The Atlantic, The Hairpin,, and Refinery29. Her feature film script Fairy Godmother was on the 2016 Black List.

Makasha Copeland is a playwright, actor, and comedian from the Texas Hill Country. Their full-length plays Extreme Home Makeover and Fabuloso! have been developed and produced with San Diego REP, Vertigo Productions, the Agnes Nixon Festival, Theatre Lab at FAU, Teatro Espejo, Sideshow Theatre, and Theatre Exile. Their 10-minute comedy Pitbull’s B-Day received a staged reading at the Tank. They were a resident artist at Ars Nova’s inaugural CAMP residency, where they co-created and performed in a sketch comedy/play fusion, Madre Mía/ Minha Mãe.

David Templeton is an author, journalist, and playwright. His plays include Drumming With AnubisMary Shelley’s BodyPolar Bears, Pinky, and Wretch Like Me. His work has been produced by Spreckels Performing Arts Center, Left Edge Theater, Main Stage West, the SF Olympians’ Festival, 6th Street Playhouse, Sonoma Arts Live, Actor’s Basement and Twisted Productions. As a journalist, he’s written for dozens of publications in the Bay Area and nationwide. In 2019, he won the California Newspaper Publishers Association award for best writing.

Erlina Ortiz is a Dominican American playwright, performer, and theatremaker from Reading, Pa. Her plays include Silueta, Morir Sonyando, Las Mujeres, La Egoista, MinorityLand, She Wore Those Shoes, and Honey Bee Baby. She is co-artistic director of Power Street Theatre. Her play Las Mujeres received the Bonaly Award for Creation of Community Joy in 2018 and in 2019 her play Morir Sonyando was nominated for six Barrymore Awards including Outstanding New Play. She has received the Amtrak Writer’s residency, the Signal Fire Outpost Residency, and in 2019 she gave the Keynote Address at the Delaware Writer’s Conference.

Established in 1986, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is dedicated to supporting the American theatre. The trust funds educational programs and provides millions of dollars in grants for new productions of American plays.

The American Theatre Critics Association is the only national association of professional theater critics and journalists. ATCA works to provide resources, maintain standards, and raise awareness for the theatre criticism profession.

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