Neukom Institute Announces 2021 Playwriting Shortlist

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The annual award explores how technology and computation affect the human condition.

Red and black image of an audience in silhouette
The winner of the Neukom Institute award for playwriting, to be announced in spring, will come from a shortlist of 12 plays.

The Neukom Institute for Computational Science has announced the playwriting shortlist for the 2021 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards.

“It is exciting to see that the Neukom playwriting prize has tapped into an extraordinarily vibrant community of artists who are using their creative energies to explore one of the central issues of our day—the effect of technology and computation on the human condition,” says Dan Rockmore, associate dean for the sciences, director of the Neukom Institute, and creator of the award program. “It is a real treat to be able to support and perhaps even galvanize such a wonderful body of work.”

2021 Neukom Awards Shortlist for Playwriting:

  • “Some of Us Exist in the Future” by Nkenna Akunna
  • “Roll Play” by Julia Blauvelt
  • “Omen Road to Starrville” by Erik Champney
  • “BETA” by Christian Durso
  • “meet you at the Galaxy Diner” by Gina Femia
  • “Edit Annie” by Mary Glen Fredrick
  • “UX” by Jason Gray Platt
  • “wad” by Keiko Green
  • “NOISE: A Teenage Panic Attack on National Themes” by Ezra Brain and J. Andrew Norris
  • “Bounded in a Nutshell” by Jason C. Stuart
  • “The Moderate” by Ken Urban
  • “Atlas, the Lonely Gibbon” by Deborah Yarchun

The fourth annual award for playwriting considers full-length plays and other full-length works for the theater that address the question “What does it mean to be a human in a computerized world?” A total of 140 submissions were received for this year’s playwriting award.

The award includes a $5,000 honorarium and support for a two-stage development process with workshops at VoxLab and Northern Stage. The award will be announced in the spring.

The Neukom playwriting award is a partnership between the Neukom Institute, Dartmouth’s Department of Theater, Dartmouth’s VoxLab, and Northern Stage, based in White River Junction, Vt.

The Neukom Institute for Computational Science is dedicated to supporting and inspiring computational work. The Literary Arts Awards are part of the Neukom Institute’s initiative to explore the ways in which computational ideas affect society.

David Hirsch can be reached at

David Hirsch