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Judith Royer Awards for Excellence in Playwriting - Winners

The Judith Royer Award for Excellence in Playwriting is named in honor of Dr. Royer for her dedication to the development of new plays throughout her distinguished career. Dr. Royer is a producer, director and dramaturg with new play development programs sponsored by the NEA, Playwrights Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and Theatre Gallery. She established the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival’s playwriting program and is a founding member of ATHE. The Royer Award honors a new play marked by sophisticated and nuanced dramatic storytelling, compelling content, and the potential to make a major artistic impact on contemporary theatre. Chosen from a pool of 150 submissions, this year’s award winner is:


Lyra YangLyra Yang, Paper Dream

Lyra Yang is a Baltimore-based playwright originally from China. Her play Paper Dream was programmed in Liz Smith's Reading Series at Cherry Lane Theatre (NYC), New Play Series at Spooky Action Theatre (D.C.), Scripts in Play Festival at Avant Bard Theatre (Arlington, VA), Industry Reading at Silk Road Rising (Chicago), New Play Festival 2019 at Three Cats Production (Chicago). Her other plays have been showcased at the Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Page Festival (D.C.), Round House Theatre (D.C.), Nothing Without a Company (Chicago), Chicago Dramatist, Chicago Livingroom Playmaker, and Tradewind Arts Asian American Artist (Kansas). She's honored to be an alumna of Northwestern University (MFA).

Acceptance Speech

The committee is also delighted to recognize the following playwrights for their outstanding work:

  • John J. Caswell Jr., Wet Brain
  • Adrienne Dawes, Teen Dad
  • Steve Gold, Women and Guns
  • Charles Green, Polaris
  • Exal Iraheta, They Could Give No Name
  • Matthew Cole Kelly, We Victorians
  • Alex Moon, Gorgon
  • Eliana Pipes, Dream Hou$e
  • Eric Henry Sanders, Reservoir
  • Steven Young, Obscenity

ATHE offers special thanks to the Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting award subcommittee for their work this cycle.

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