David Bevington Award
Winner: Newbigin, Nerida. Making a Play for God: The Sacre Rappresentazioni of Renaissance Florence. 2 vols. Toronto, ON: Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies, 2021.
The committee is delighted to award the Bevington Award for best new book in early drama studies to Nerida Newbigin’s Making a Play for God: The Sacre Rappresentazioni of Renaissance Florence, published by the University of Toronto Press in 2021. This magisterial and pioneering two-volume study brings the understudied sacre rappresentazioni of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Florence into close focus for the first time, placing them within the complex political, social, and economic world of that city and paying careful attention not only to the dynamics of performance but issues of composition and preservation in textual forms. As Newbigin mentions, she began this research half a century ago, and it is truly the work of a lifetime. Making a Play for God provides a treasure-trove of hitherto unpublished resources that all scholars of early drama, in Italian studies and beyond, will find fascinating, illuminating, and indispensable.
Honorable Mention: Williams, Katherine Schaap. Unfixable Forms: Disability, Performance, and the Early Modern English Theater. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2021.
The committee would like to recognize with an honorable mention Katherine Schaap Williams’s Unfixable Forms: Disability, Performance, and the Early Modern English Theater, published by Cornell University Press in 2021. This brilliant and timely first monograph explores the intersections of theatrical performance and disability in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English drama. Unfixable Forms changes our understanding not only of stage-characters described as "deformed," "lame," or "crippled,” but also of stage-craft itself.
Committee: Nicole Rice, Carol Symes, and Maggie Solberg (chair). Awards announcement and presentation took place during the MRDS business meeting in May, held online by way of Zoom due to the COVID19 global pandemic.