ADAA 2014 Saroyan Prize Focuses on Human Rights, Social Justice

Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance

LOS ANGELES—The Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance (ADAA) is proud to announce that the William Saroyan Prize for Playwriting will launch a Human Rights/Social Justice focus, beginning with the 2014 cycle of the competition. The prize will be awarded for themes which engage an audience with social and political issues and/or promotes peace, social justice and human rights.

In continuing with the work of previous years to support Armenian stories and artists, a special Commendation for Armenian Excellence will be additionally awarded to a play on an Armenian theme.

Deadline for full-length stage plays is June 15, 2014. A professional jury will select three finalists from the submissions, and an honorary jury will determine the grand prizewinner.

The prize will be awarded Human Rights Day, Wednesday, December 10, 2014, at ADAA’s annual awards event in Los Angeles.

The 2014 Saroyan Prize Committee includes the following theater professionals: Erik Ehn, Dean of Playwriting, Brown University, US; David Lan, Young Vic Theatre, UK; Jose Luis Valenzuela, Los Angeles Theater Center, US; Catherine Filloux, Playwright, US; Michael Peretzian, Director, US; Lisa Kirazian, Playwright, US; Bianca Bagatourian, Playwright, US.

Advisory Theaters for the 2014 Saroyan Prize are:
The Pasadena Playhouse, US; The Young Vic, UK; The Bush Theatre, UK; The Los Angeles Theater Center, US; Golden Thread Theater, US; The Fountain Theatre, US. and more.

The late William Saroyan believed that the performing arts were a powerful tool for facilitating civic engagement and advancing social change. ADAA, with the advice of its theater and funding partners around the world, decided to expand the scope of the competition to promote intercultural understanding and be inclusive of more playwrights exploring the transformative power of theater to address issues of global significance. This is certainly in keeping with the spirit of William Saroyan — a longtime advocate of human rights. It will also further the aim of the Armenian arts community as a whole, in its quest for justice and acceptance.

Scripts can tackle topics as diverse as homelessness, genocide, human exploitation, whether the conflicts are international, among groups and individuals, or through political participation. Scripts can also seek to create understanding of how conflicts can be resolved nonviolently instead of violently. Other themes can include minority issues that focus on racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination both in the United States and abroad, with writers making real and relevant the impact of human rights issues on our everyday lives. ADAA hopes this widened scope of the competition will help shed new light on religious, spiritual, and cultural differences and issues and build respect for cultural expression and identity in a world that is experiencing rapid globalization.

Playwrights must submit a half-page synopsis of their play for the committee to confirm that it is a play dealing with human rights/social justice, whether Armenian or non-Armenian themed. Writers will then be invited to submit their full-length script for consideration.

The Saroyan Playwriting Prize is supported with grants from the William Saroyan Foundation, which inaugurated the prize at ADAA in 2007, and by Gagosian Galleries, and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

For submission guidelines, please visit ADAA’s newly redesigned website, armeniandrama.org. Submissions for the prize are electronic only and must be sent by June 15, 2014 to adaa@armeniandrama.org.

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