2021 Smith Prize for Political Theater awarded to Bernardo Cubría

Jun 25, 2021

National New Play Network, the country's alliance of professional theaters that collaborate in innovative ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays, is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2021 Smith Prize for Political Theater: Bernardo Cubría.

Built from deep community engagement and drawing from a wide range of theatrical inspirations, the currently untitled project follows a Black family who have lived in LA’s Watts neighborhood for generations and a Latinx family who are new to the neighborhood. The play chronicles the effects of rapid gentrification on the Black family and tells the Latinx family’s struggle to find community. Prevented from bonding by deep-seated racism and ignorance, the play will ultimately unpack the racist system built by the White ruling class to maintain its power.

The piece will be “inspired by Our Town… but will sound more like August Wilson and Tanya Saracho than Thorton Wilder,” said Cubría, and will be created “for these communities and with these communities from the ground up.”

Mr. Cubría will partner with Watts Village Theatre Company (WVTC), WVTC’s Co-Artistic Director Bruce A. Lemon, Jr., and Ammunition Theater Company on this innovative project.

Cubria is the 16th recipient of the Smith Prize for Political Theater, established in 2006 by Timothy Jay Smith and a group of socially conscious donors to encourage emerging playwrights to tackle the pressing issues of our times.

See the full release here.