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Villanova University Theatre Professor James Ijames Named as Recipient of The National Arts Club’s 2018 Kesselring Prize

James Ijames named as recipient of 2018 Kesselring Prize

VILLANOVA, Pa. – The National Arts Club has selected James Ijames, MFA, Villanova University assistant professor of Theater, actor, director and playwright, as the recipient of the 2018 Kesselring Prize for his play, Kill Move Paradise. As a winner of this prestigious award, Ijames will receive $25,000 from the Club Kesselring Fund and the chance to have a two-week residency to develop his work at the National Arts Club’s historic clubhouse. A ceremony and reception, which will include staged readings and scenes from Ijames’ plays, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the National Arts Club in New York City.

“I'm really overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Ijames, who received the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention prize for his play, The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington. “I’m incredibly grateful to the Wilma Theater for submitting the play, to the National Arts Club and Kesselring Prize committee. I would be remiss to not say ‘thank you’ to my Villanova community who continue to support my work as a writer and artist.”

Ijames’ Kill Move Paradise is about four black men in a cosmic waiting room that was inspired by the growing number of shootings of unarmed black men and women. In addition to Kill Move Paradise, he has also produced a number of other plays including Moon Man Walk, The Threshing Floor and Osiris: Redux. He has appeared regionally at Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theater, Baltimore Center Stage and InterAct Theatre Company.

Ijames is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. In 2017, he received the prestigious Whiting Award for Drama and was granted a Pew Fellow Residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in California. Ijames was also a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting and the 2015 winner of the Terrence McNally New Play Award for WHITE. His awards include the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist, awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play (for Superior Donuts and Angels in America) and the 2014 Barrymore for Outstanding Direction of a Play for his work on The Brothers Size.

The Kesselring Prize was established in 1980 by Charlotte Kesselring – widow of noted playwright and Club member Joseph Kesselring – to honor and support as yet not nationally recognized playwrights with an honorarium and indirect support towards development of their work.

Tickets for the November 5 event can be purchased here.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit