Ucross and The Blank Theatre have announced two winners of a joint “Future of Playwriting Prize” aimed at recognizing young playwrights nationwide.
Kori Alston and Dave Osmundsen have been named as winners of the newly created prize and will receive a cash award of $5,000 each, professionally produced stage readings in The Blank Theatre’s Living room Series and two-week residencies at Ucross’s 20,000-acre ranch at the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains, including transportation.
Daniel Henning, who’s The Blank Theatre’s founding artistic director, said the competition was originally designed for one winner, but such an “amazing cornucopia” of talent presented such a difficult decision for competition judges that two winners had to be recognized.
The award is a partnership of Ucross and The Blank Theatre, which is a Los Angeles institution, to showcase the importance of emerging artists across the country and celebrate innovative work that is evolving theater. In addition to the two winners, the judges recognized an additional finalist, A. K. Payne, who has received a $500 cash prize.
Alston is a writer, poet and activist based in Brooklyn, New York, and the Berkshires in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he began his work as a playwright. His work has been featured at the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, Victory Gardens Theater and other, smaller, venues, and has earned him the Agnes Nixon Award for Playwriting. He is also a middle school teacher in Brownsville.
Osmundsen is a resident playwright with Spectrum Theatre Ensemble, a neurodiverse theater company based in Providence, Rhode Island. His play “Light Switch” was the 2021 Distinguished Achievement recipient of the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award. His one-act play “A Firework Unexploded” was a semi-finalist for the New York City Audio Theatre Writing Contest and was produced by Pint-Sized in London. In addition to playwriting, he has had short stories published on ScholarsAndRogues.com.