Entertainment & Arts

Croatia drama 3 Winters wins Blackburn Prize

Tena Stivicic Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tena Stivicic's play 3 Winters was produced by the National Theatre in London

A play about four generations of women growing up in Croatia after World War Two has won a prestigious playwriting prize for women.

Tena Stivicic received the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for her sweeping family saga 3 Winters, performed at London's National Theatre last year.

London-based Stivicic was presented with her $25,000 (£16,300) prize at New York's Playwrights Horizons theatre.

She said she wrote it to address the theatre community's gender imbalance.

The 37-year-old, who was born in Zagreb, urged women to write more plays and to write them from a female perspective.

"The problem is we've all internalised this perspective, so it seems perfectly natural to look at the world from the male perspective,'' she said.

"It doesn't even occur to us that it doesn't represent life."

Getting heard

Stivicic said she hoped the prize might lead to a New York production of 3 Winters, saying it dealt with many "relatable" themes despite being set in the Balkans.

Actress Rebecca Hall, one of this year's judges, presented Stivicic her prize, which included a signed and numbered print by artist Willem de Kooning.

Hall said that while women account for around 70% of theatregoers in both England and the US, plays by women are far less likely to be produced.

"As an actress working in film and theatre, I know what it's like to struggle to have your voice heard," said Hall.

"This award gives writers a megaphone and we all need to listen."

Image copyright Publicity
Image caption Downton Abbey actress Siobhan Finneran played a lead role in 3 Winters

The prize, given to plays written in English, was created to honour playwright Susan Smith Blackburn, who died of breast cancer in 1977.

Since its inception, eight Blackburn finalists have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Last year's winner, Lucy Kirkwood's Chimerica, also won the Olivier for best new play as well the Evening Standard's best play award.

British playwrights Alice Birch, Alecky Blythe and Katherine Chandler were among the 11 other finalists, who each won $5,000 (£3,259).

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