Playwright Katie Holly - Finalist for Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2022/2023

At Mermaid, we prioritise putting time and resources into providing development support for artists making new work. We offer a safe channel for both the artists and the work at a phase in the process that can be delicate and vulnerable. It’s important to us to create an environment that can best support that phase before the work goes out into the wider world.

We send our congratulations to playwright Katie Holly, who is a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. The prize is the biggest international prize for women+ playwrights internationally. Katie’s play Her Hand on the Trellis, was developed with a bursary from Arts Council Ireland, and with support from The Everyman, Cork. Mermaid’s Artistic Director Julie Kelleher led a development workshop on the play in Bray in Spring 2022, which led to Mermaid submitting the play for consideration for this prestigious prize. Katie appears as the only Irish entrant on a shortlist of 10 finalists from a global pool of 190 submissions, and we’re enormously proud to have supported Katie in this achievement.

We couldn't be happier to see Katie's work being recognised for it's brilliance both nationally and internationally, and we look forward to a year ahead of continuing this support for artists.

Katie Holly (Ireland) Her Hand on the Trellis

Katie Holly’s first three plays Marion (2016), Sharon (2017) and Crowman (2018) premiered at Cork Midsummer Festival and toured regionally and/or nationally. Sharon was recorded and broadcast as a radio play on Ireland's national broadcaster RTE Radio 1 and won a New York Festival Silver Award for 'Best Digital Drama' in 2019. She was commissioned by Cork County Council to write and produce Crossword (Bealtaine Festival 2019) and Pageant (Cork Culture Night 2020). In 2021 Katie was participated in the Irish Theatre Institute's artist program 'Six in the Attic'. Also in 2021, she received a Theatre Bursary for the development of her practice and began writing 'Her hand on the trellis' (both of which were funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, and supported in development by Julie Kelleher and Mermaid Arts Centre as well as Sophie Motley and Everyman Theatre). Katie is a participant in the Maven's Playwright Program, a professional development programme providing career support for female-identifying writers. Katie is currently completing a residency at Everyman Theatre, Cork under the mentorship of Enda Walsh and as part of this residency is writing a new comedy called Blindspot. Graduate of Drama and Theatre Studies in University College Cork, where she subsequently completed a Masters in Irish Literature.

The Winner of the 2023 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize will be named at the Award Presentation and 45th Anniversary Celebration on March 27, 2023 at Playwrights Horizons in New York City. The Winner will be awarded a cash prize of $25,000 and will also receive a limited edition signed print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Prize. Each of the additional Finalists will receive an award of $5,000.

Founded in 1978, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is awarded annually to celebrate women+ who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre. Women+ includes women, transgender and non-binary playwrights.

494 plays have been honored as Finalists of the Prize.