The Peter Shaffer Award

The Peter Shaffer Award is given annually to a rising playwright talent, with the commitment from FTP to producing a main-stage production of their work. Discovering, supporting and producing new unique voices in the theater is vital to making sure that the arts stay alive and vibrant. Peter Shaffer too was once a young unknown playwright, and this award not only provides a platform for new innovative work to grow but also continues Peters’ legacy as a bastion of the writing community.

2016 awardee Ben Holbrook & 2017 awardee Aisha Josiah.

This year’s awardee, Aisha Josiah first drew our attention after she submitted her play Dickless to our Mass Rhetoric: New Works Festival in 2016. The play was an immediate front-runner in the selection process; a riotous rollicking adventure through the underbelly of working-class England, doused with a raw Berkoff-esque poetic language – all wrapped around an exploration of gender identity and roles we play in society. The play was a highlight of the festival, and we made a commitment then and there to produce Dickless. Aisha writes beautifully challenging and provocative pieces of theater, and we were thrilled to present her the 2017 award. We are currently in pre-production for Dickless, with a NY preview followed by the international debut at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

How does it feel to receive an award in honor of such an extraordinary playwright, whom I deeply admire? I am inspired and challenged, validated and urged onwards, terrified, yet encouraged. Somehow, I’ve been gifted the perfect impetus to fearlessly create. So, not bad. 

I’m completing my masters in Playwriting and Dramaturgy at the University of Glasgow. And I’m working with the  Shriver Peace Institute on a new play about Sargent Shriver.” – Aisha Josiah

2016 awardee Ben Holbrook, 2017 awardee Aisha Josiah & FTP Artistic Director Sam Underwood

Paying tribute to our Honorary Patron, Sir Peter Shaffer by presenting an award in his name is a heartfelt way for the company to continue Peter’s legacy. We are thrilled to support dynamic, insightful and groundbreaking playwrights early in their career – their words are needed now more than ever. Both Ben and Aisha have entertained, challenged and inspired the company and our audiences with their work, and we look forward to further their artistry by creating a platform for their voices to be heard, both in the U.S. and overseas.” Sam Underwood