NEW YORK, NY – The America Theatre Critics Association has announced playwright, critic, and Dramatists Guild member Gloria Oladipo as the recipient of the second annual Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism. The award was presented this month at the 2023 ATCA Conference in New York.
The Edward Medina Prize, named such by the ATCA to honor their late colleague, was created to recognize the work of reviewers, theatre critics, and journalists in the US from historically underrepresented groups who write about theatre and its role in highlighting various cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. The award is also given with the aim of encouraging increased readership of cultural criticism by diverse writers.
“Gloria Oladipo is an absolutely phenomenal, well-varied journalist and critic, and we are thrilled she has been chosen by our esteemed jury to receive the second annual Edward Medina Prize,” said ATCA chair David John Chávez in a statement. “In the spirit of our beloved friend Ed and his legacy, Gloria has proven to be a luminary in our industry, displaying the necessary tenets of journalism with integrity and skill.”
Gloria Oladipo is a New York-based playwright and award-winning cultural critic and journalist from Chicago, IL. She writes Black comedies about Black women, exploring themes of caregiving, mental health, and trauma through a mix of realism and absurdism. Gloria is a 2022 National Critics Institute fellow at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, an opportunity she was selected for via the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, the Guardian, Bitch Media, and other publications.
Gloria is a 2023-2025 Public Theater Emerging Writers Group Fellow. She is also 2022-2023 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow and 2023 Seven Devils New Play Conference resident, where her play The Care and Keeping of Schizophrenia (and Other Demons) is in development. She is a 2023 Gingold Group Speaker’s Corner fellow and a 2023 artist-in-residence with New York Stage and Film in Poughkeepsie, New York. Her work has also been developed at the Curious Theatre Company, Lifelong, and other institutions.
“While news writing really wants you to live in the black and white, I think that arts writing and playwriting are really about the gray,” said Oladipo. “I find myself trying to embrace the gray more and advocating to live in the gray as news writers when everyone wants a headline that says X equals Y, exclamation point.”
Founded in 1974, the American Theatre Critics Association is the only national association of professional theatre critics in the United States. ATCA works to foster greater communication among theatre critics; provide training and networking opportunities and programs to foster emerging writers; advocate for freedom of expression; maintain ethical standards; respond to the continued evolution of the profession; and increase public awareness of theatre criticism as an important national resource.