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Beth Hyland’s SYLVIA SYLVIA SYLVIA Receives 2024 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award

Williamstown Theatre Festival is pleased to announce Beth Hyland as the recipient of the 2024 L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award for her play SYLVIA SYLVIA SYLVIA. Hyland will receive the $10,000 award and the accompanying $10,000 Jay Harris Commission to write a new play. The play will also receive a reading at the Festival this summer as part of the Fridays@3 reading series, showcasing new work in development.

Geffen Playhouse, led by new artistic director Tarell Alvin McCraney, has committed to further development of the piece in their 2024-2025 season.

In SYLVIA SYLVIA SYLVIA, a tragicomic exploration of women’s creativity and women’s madness, love and art collide with supernatural consequences. Sally, a once-celebrated novelist grappling with writer’s block and overshadowed by her husband Theo’s rising literary fame, seeks solace and inspiration in the iconic Boston apartment once inhabited by Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Intent on completing her novel about Plath’s life and salvaging her faltering marriage, Sally’s plans take a haunting turn when she begins experiencing spectral encounters that challenge her perception of reality. As the boundaries between truth and fiction blur, Sally confronts the ghosts of her past, threatening to unravel both her sanity and her artistic vision.

Williamstown Theatre Festival administers the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award on behalf of WTF Trustee Emeritus Fredda Harris and the Anna L. Weissberger Foundation. Championed for the Festival in 1998 by Fredda’s late husband and former WTF Trustee Jay Harris, the award honors noted theatrical attorney and avid theater supporter L. Arnold Weissberger, and it is designed to recognize excellence in playwriting. Recent recipients of the award include Clarence Coo for Chapters of a Floating Life (2023), Mike Lew for tiny father (2022), John J. Caswell, Jr. for Wet Brain (2021), and Sanaz Toossi’s Pulitzer Prize-winning English (2020) which will open on Broadway this December.

Submissions for the award are by invitation only and are carefully evaluated by a team of readers over the course of six months. The finalist plays are considered by a panel of three judges. The finalists for the 2024 award were Good Time Charlie by Ryan Haddad, Jar of Fat by Seayoung Yim, and Only Some of God’s Children or Mississippi Magnolias by Paris Crayton III. The finalist judges for the 2024 award were WTF artists Jennifer Chang and Lee Sunday Evans and Williams College facultyKaren Shepard.

Additional plays as part of the 2024 Fridays@3 reading series and additional programming for the 2024 WTF Summer Season will be announced in the coming weeks.



Since 1998, the L. Arnold Weissberger Award has recognized the following new plays and emerging playwrights:

  • 2023 – CHAPTERS OF A FLOATING LIFE by Clarence Coo
  • 2022 – TINY FATHER by Mike Lew
  • 2021 – WET BRAIN by John J. Caswell, Jr.
  • 2020 – ENGLISH by Sanaz Toossi
  • 2019 – CINCHED/STRAPPED by Selina Fillinger
  • 2018 – SELLING KABUL by Sylvia Khoury
  • 2017 – NOURA by Heather Raffo
  • 2016 – HANNAH AND THE DREAD GAZEBO by Jiehae Park
  • 2014 – KILL FLOOR by Abe Koogler
  • 2013 – FIVE MILE LAKE by Rachel Bonds
  • 2012 – PARADISE BLUE by Dominique Morisseau
  • 2011 – THE BODY OF AN AMERICAN by Dan O’Brien
  • 2010 – CHOIR BOY by Tarell Alvin McCraney
  • 2009 – THE SUBSTANCE OF BLISS by Tony Glazer
  • 2008 – SENSE OF AN ENDING by Ken Urban
  • 2007 – THE GOOD NEGRO by Tracey Scott Wilson
  • 2006 – TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION by Etan Frankel
  • 2005 – SAID SAID by Kenneth Lin
  • 2004 – BFE by Julia Cho
  • 2003 – ARRANGEMENTS by Ken Weitzman
  • 2002 – MOTHERHOUSE by Victor Lodato
  • 2001 – THE BRIDEGROOM OF BLOWING ROCK by Catherine Trieschmann
  • 2000 – JUMP SLASH CUT by Neena Beber
  • 1999 – INTO THE FIRE by Deborah Brevoort
  • 1998 – INFRARED by Mac Wellman

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