Winsome Pinnock

The force of Winsome Pinnock’s epic and spacious dialogue deftly opens the ear and widens the heart; it gracefully compels the spirit to reckon with the necessity for absolute freedom.

Winsome Pinnock is a singular voice in world theater. Over the past four decades, plays like Tituba (2016), Mules (1996), and The Winds of Change (1987) have established her as both poet and myth-maker, committed to taking formal risks and to asking difficult questions about the role of art in shaping cultures and institutions. Her most recent play, Rockets and Blue Lights (2018), places at its center one of the nineteenth century’s most famous paintings: J. M. W. Turner’s “The Slave Ship.” Moving between several sets of characters and ranging from the 1800s to the present, this intricately plotted drama compels us to confront the horrors of our shared past. It does so with compassion and wit, never once compromising Pinnock’s vision of theater as the communal creation of new, stranger, and perhaps truer histories. The first Black British woman to have a play produced by the National Theatre, Pinnock was an associate professor of drama at Kingston University from 2005 to 2019 and has also been a senior visiting fellow at Cambridge University. She has worked as a dramaturg with the National Theatre’s New Views program as well as with the Royal Court Theatre’s International Department. The prizes awarded to her work include the Alfred Fagon Award (2018), the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Special Commendation (1990), the George Devine Award (1991), the Pearson Award for Best New Play (1991), and the Unity Theatre Trust Award (1989). She lives in London.

This is going to have a huge impact on my process as it will give me the freedom to experiment and to work on projects in a non-pressured way. I still can't quite believe it. WINSOME PINNOCK