A UCSB professor recently received a $50,000 fellowship for her dramatic contribution to the world of theater.

Naomi Iizuka, a dramatic arts professor and UCSB Playwriting Program director, was one of five individuals to receive the 2005 CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts fellowship in New York City last week, a university press release said. Composer-musician Herb Alpert established the award in 1994 to recognize five individuals in various disciplines for their dedication to the contemporary arts. Iizuka, who was one of 10 nominees in the theater category for writing several acclaimed plays, was also awarded a resident position at the California Institute of the Arts, where she will teach a weeklong master theater class for actors and playwrights.

“Playwriting allows you to respond to your world in an immediate and visceral way,” Iizuka said. “Writing for theater is collaborative. If you’re a playwright, you collaborate with actors, directors and designers. That’s a lot more exciting than writing alone in a room somewhere.”

Iizuka is a member of New Dramatists, the nation’s oldest nonprofit center for the development of talented playwrights, the press release said. She has been the recipient of several other awards, including the Whiting Writers’ Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production grant and a PEN Center USA West Award for Drama. Her plays include “At the Vanishing Point,” “36 Views,” “Polaroid Stories,” “Tattoo Girl” and “Skin.”

One of Iizuka’s upcoming projects – the UCSB New Plays Festival – highlights six original plays by UCSB students, she said. She said the festival, which will run from May 30 to June 2, is free to the public and has been popular in years past. Iizuka said she is also working on the Summer Theatre Lab, which will give students the opportunity to work with cutting-edge artists.