School of the Arts Playwriting alumnus Clarence Coo ('10 SOA) is the winner of the 2012 Yale Drama Series award for his play Beautiful Province, the story of a 15-year-old boy who travels across Canada with his high school French teacher. Coo will be honored with a staged reading and reception at Lincoln Center Theater on September 18th, where he will receive the David C. Horn prize of $10,000. Beautiful Province will be published by Yale University Press.
This year's annual international competition was judged by renowned playwright John Guare (The House of Blue Leaves), who selected Coo's work from over 1,100 plays from 24 countries. The competition, now in its sixth year, is open to emerging playwrights who are invited to submit original, unpublished and unproduced full-length plays for consideration.
“My readers and I found Beautiful Province to be the most successfully realized play," said John Guare. "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.”
Coo, who studied with Charles Mee while at Columbia, developed Beautiful Province at the Inkwell's Inkubator Series and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.
“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.”
Clarence Coo's 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. He is currently the program administrator of the Graduate Writing Program at Columbia University School of the Arts.
John Guare is the author of the plays The House of Blue Leaves (winner of the NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play and 4 Tony Awards for its 1986 Lincoln Center Theater production), Six Degrees of Separation (winner of the NY Drama Critics Circle and Olivier Awards for Best Play), A Free Man of Color, Lydie Breeze, Bosoms and Neglect, Landscape of the Body and A Few Stout Individuals. This is Guare's second year serving as the sole judge of the competition; previous judges include award-winning playwrights Edward Albee and David Hare.