Professor Lynn Nottage Wins the Evening Standard Award for Best Play

BY Robbie Armstrong, December 9, 2019

Professor Lynn Nottage won London’s Evening Standard Award for Best Play, for her play Sweat. Nottage’s play about Pennsylvania steelworkers had its Broadway bow in 2017 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In her acceptance speech, Nottage thanked the steelworkers of Reading, Pennsylvania for “opening up their hearts” while she was writing Sweat. The London production ran at the Donmar Warehouse, before transferring to the Gielgud Theatre. The Standard’s five star review of the Donmar production called the play “outstanding,” saying it “speaks so powerfully to our Brexit-riven, food bank-strewn country, frightened as we are of the future, the ‘other’ and the decline of social structures.”


The Evening Standard Theatre Awards, established in 1955, are the oldest theatrical awards ceremony in the United Kingdom. They are presented annually for outstanding achievements in London Theatre. Accepting the award for Best Play the 65th Evening Standard Theatre Awards, Nottage said: “I wrote Sweat because I saw a storm coming. I wanted to write something about the trauma that working class people were experiencing during the economic downturn, and particularly during the period of de-industrialisation.”


Sweat is based on interviews Nottage conducted over two years with the citizens of Reading, one of the poorest cities in America, where she found a place divided by rising racial tension and decreasing opportunity. The play follows the lives of several factory workers and community members who are faced with the collapse of industry and its effect on the lives of the town residents. Nottage described the community as openhearted and in need of a voice to tell their stories. 


Sweat is available for licensing through the Dramatists Play Service.