Theatre graduate Olivia Matthews ’15 was recently honored by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education with the 2020 Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award. The award, named for acclaimed queer playwright Jane Chambers, recognizes new feminist plays and performance texts by women and genderqueer writers.
Matthews’ award-winning play Absentia follows the story of Esther Harris, a young woman who leaves the confines of her abusive father’s house to search for her long-lost mother. The text deals with themes of abuse, trauma, and recovery.
Recognition isn’t new for Matthews, who was raised in Central Florida. Her play Home Going was produced by Playwrights’ Round Table in Orlando and published in the anthology The Best 10 Minute Plays of 2015. She is a recent MFA graduate of Ohio University and currently holds a fellowship from the Sesame Workshop Writers’ Room.