Tale of a Canadian road trip wins Yale Drama Series Award

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The 2012 Yale Drama Series Award has been presented to Clarence Coo for his play “Beautiful Province,” the story of a road trip across Canada taken by a 15-year-old boy and his French high school teacher.

Playwright John Guare chose Coo’s play from over 1,100 plays submitted from 24 countries. As this year’s winner, “Beautiful Province” will be published by Yale University Press.

Describing “Beautiful Province” as “the most successfully realized play” among this year’s entries, Guare added: “I admired it for its bold theatricality, its daring, its ambitious theme, its consistent tone, its heightened language. The contest searches for a brave new voice in the English-speaking world. We found this year’s winner in Clarence Coo’s ‘Beautiful Province.’” Runner-ups for the 2012 Yale Drama Series were Saviana Stanescu, for her play “Useless” and Jesse Weaver, for his play “We Shall Catch Larks.”

“There is no simpler or greater gift for a playwright than to be told that one’s vocation is important, “ said Coo. “But to be told in a way as full of the generosity and encouragement of the Yale Drama Series Prize was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I am so grateful and honored.”

Coo, who is program administrator of the Graduate Writing Program at Columbia’s School of the Arts, developed “Beautiful Province” at the Inkwell’s Inkubator Series and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. His other work has been produced or developed at the New York International Fringe Festival, Mu Performing Arts, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Round House Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, the Young Playwrights Festival, and the Kennedy Center. He was an Allen Lee Hughes Fellow at Arena Stage, a recipient of the Larry Neal Writers’ Award, and a social media writer for the 2010 and 2011 Tony Awards.

Coo will be honored on Sept. 18 at a reception at Lincoln Center Theater where he will receive the David C. Horn prize of $10,000 which will be immediately followed by a staged reading of “Beautiful Province.”

Now in its sixth year, the Yale Drama Series is an annual international competition, funded by the David Horn Foundation, which is open to emerging playwrights who are invited to submit original, unpublished and unproduced full-length English language plays for consideration.  For the second year, Guare served as the sole judge of the competition; with award-winning playwrights Edward Albee and David Hare previously served as judges.

The 2012 Yale Drama Series is co-sponsored by the David Charles Horn Foundation, the Yale University Press, and Lincoln Center Theater.

Submissions for the 2013 Yale Drama Series Award must be postmarked no earlier than June 1 and no later than Aug. 15.  For complete contest rules visit: http://www.yalepress.yale.edu/ypubooks/drama.asp.

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