Chicago’s American Blues Theater has named Idris Goodwin the winner of the 2017 National Blue Ink Playwriting Award. Goodwin’s play, Hype Man, was selected from a pool of 543 submissions. As part of the award, Goodwin receives a $1,000 cash prize and the opportunity to further develop his script with American Blues Theater.

“I am of course honored and grateful, but mostly I am charged up,” said Goodwin.  “I want to use the theatre as a venue to wrestle with our national sicknesses but also a place to nod heads in unison, as we collectively imagine towards liberation. Hype Man, this latest entry into my break beat plays series, exemplifies this desire. I can’t wait to further refine the play with the indomitable American Blues Theater, in one of the greatest cities for art.”

Idris Goodwin is a playwright, poet/performer and essayist whose play How We Got On developed at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, premiered in Actors Theatre’s 2012 Humana Festival, and is being produced at theaters across the country. It is the first in his “break beat play” series, which includes The Realness and Hype Man. Other plays include BlackademicsThis Is Modern Art co-written with Kevin Coval, And in This Corner: Cassius ClayBars and Measures, and The Raid. Goodwin is one of seven playwrights featured in the widely presented HANDS UP!, an anthology commissioned by The New Black Fest and published by Samuel French. His one act Black Flag was produced Off Broadway in Summer Shorts Festival at 59E59 Theatre. He’s received support from the NEA and Ford Foundation, and awarded Oregon Shakespeare’s American History Cycle Commission, and InterAct Theater’s 20/20 Prize. 

Said American Blues Theater’s artistic director, Gwendolyn Whiteside, “We’re honored to announce Idris Goodwin’s script as the 2017 winner. Idris’s script is both heartbreaking and humorous with characters impossible to forget. The themes resonate empathy and a call to action. We’re thrilled to further develop Hype Man with Idris.”

Hype Man is a story about a controversial police shooting inflaming tensions between an interracial hip hop trio. It is a rhythmically woven drama exploring race, representation, fame and friendship.

​The annual Blue Ink Playwriting Award was created in 2010 to support new work. Since inception, American Blues Theater has named 7 Award winners, 35 finalists, and 59 semi-finalists. The theater has awarded more than $5,000 in cash and prizes for 2017.  The full list of 2017 Blue Ink Playwriting Award winners can be found at AmericanBluesTheater.com.

Playwright Idris Goodwin (photo courtesy of Mr. Goodwin).

Playwright Idris Goodwin Among Recipients of 2017 National Blue Ink Playwriting Awards 

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