In 2016, Seattle Public Theater announced a new biennial $10,000 prize to be awarded by the organization.

New plays are vital to bringing us new ideas; they invite and often compel us to examine and engage with this ever-changing world from different perspectives. In these times of anti-intellectualism and echo chambers, we as an arts organization are committed to producing works that foster an intellectually curious community that meaningfully engages with ideas and with people. We are thrilled the Emerald Prize will be the genesis of one of those new conversations and contribute to the national theater landscape.

A 10 person Invitation Committee of nationally recognized new play professionals were each asked to submit 5 names of established or up-and-coming playwrights with the condition that of those five at least three must identify as either a female, a person of color, a member of the LGBTQ community, a resident of the Pacific Northwest, or any intersection thereof. In the end, 50 playwrights were invited to submit a one page proposal for an unwritten play.

Following a blind, highly competitive reviewal process, Seattle Public Theater narrowed the proposals down to five finalists. Finalists then submitted their full proposals for consideration in early 2017, and in March Seattle Public Theater announced the Emerald Prize's inaugural winner: Aurin Squire.

Squire was awarded $10,000 to write his play, which received a developmental workshop, a series of staged readings, and was considered under option for a full production as part of our 2018-19 Season.

We were pleased to present our first Emerald Prize Award Winning Production in 2019, the world premiere of:

Fire Season


Aurin Squire


Meet the 2017 nominating committee. Meet the 2017 Finalists. Meet the 2019 nominating committee. Meet the 2019 Finalists.

2017 Winner 2019 Winner