Thomas Bradshaw

Photo by David Paul-Morris, care of the CUNY Archives.

Three awards from PEN and the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater honor a Grand Master of American Theater, a mid-career playwright with an outstanding voice, and an emerging playwright who demonstrates great promise. The PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Award for Theater Award for an Emerging American playwright awards a cash prize of $2,500 to an emerging American playwright whose work to date has demonstrated initial critical success and poses great promise of further dramatic achievement.


From the Judges’ Citation

Thomas Bradshaw’s plays provoke strong reactions. Blocking sentimentality and moral complacency at every turn, his work hits with the force of a blunt instrument, forcing us to confront our hypocrisies about race, sex, and religion. His characters–who live in a state of moral chaos that we are asked to alternately identify with and abhor–act on pure id and say exactly what they feel. Thomas regards this as a hyper-realism that comes closer to his real-world experience than the psychological realism familiar on stages today. Seen live, Thomas’s plays are electrifying. They elicit laughter, shock, outrage, and self-examination. The judges recognize Thomas’s bold and distinctive voice.


Oskar Eustis has served as the Artistic Director of The Public Theater since 2005, after serving as the Artistic Director at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI from 1994 to 2005. Throughout his career, Eustis has been dedicated to the development of new work that speaks to the great issues of our time, and has worked with countless artists in pursuit of that aim, from Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks to David Henry Hwang and Lin-Manual Miranda. He is currently a Professor of Dramatic Writing and Arts and Public Policy at New York University; and has held professorships at UCLA, Middlebury College, and Brown University.

Michael C. Hall currently stars as Thomas Newton in David Bowie and Enda Walsh’s “Lazarus” at London’s King’s Cross Theatre. Broadway:  Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Realistic Joneses, Chicago, Cabaret. Off-Broadway:  Lazarus, Mr. Marmalade, Cymbeline, Macbeth, Timon of Athens, Henry V, The English Teachers, Corpus Christi, Romeo and Juliet, R Shoman, Skylight. Television:  “Dexter,“ “Six Feet Under.” Film:  Cold in July, Kill Your Darlings, Christine (current), Felt (forthcoming).

Young Jean Lee has written and directed ten shows in New York with Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, and toured her work to over thirty cities around the world. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a PEN Literary Award. Her short film Here Come the Girls was presented at The Locarno International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and BAMcinemaFest.

Past Winners

Laura Marks, Jennifer Blackmer, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Click here for additional information, including submission guidelines, for the award.