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The Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award honors a new play marked by sophisticated and nuanced storytelling, with the potential to make a major artistic impact on contemporary theatre. In 2017, the playwriting award was newly named the Judith Royer Award for Excellence in Playwriting, in honor of the many years of service she has given to ATHE, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and especially to the development of new plays throughout the nation. Plays must have been written by playwrights engaged with an institution of higher education (be it student, faculty, artist in residence, guest artist, etc.).
This award is co-sponsored by KCACTF. Only full-length plays will be considered. A playwright may only enter one play in any given year. The plays can be produced or unproduced but must be unpublished.
Authors and nominators need not be ATHE members. Self-nominations are welcome. The winning playwright is expected to attend the ATHE Conference and to participate in the preparation of a concert reading of the play. The 2020 conference takes place July 29-August 2 in Detroit, MI. The playwright will receive conference registration, four nights in the conference hotel, and up to $500 towards travel expenses (reimbursement). The playwright will also be recognized at the 2020 National Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., April 7-11, 2020. The playwright will receive membership in the Dramatists Guild, a cash award of $500, travel, hotel and a meal allowance.
View a list of past awardees here
- Electronic scripts are required. Word Documents or PDFs.
- We do not accept screenplays or musicals (due to the difficulty of the reading)
- Your play must not include material that you do not have permission to use.
- Your play must not be previously published.
- Previous production of your script is allowed.
- Do not submit a play that is incomplete or a rough draft.
- Plays may be submitted to other award programs simultaneously.
- Plays must be full-length. This means more than 60 pages.
- The screening for the award will be done by blind reading. Therefore we require that names not be put on the manuscript, but ONLY on the cover page. The readers for the award will not receive the cover page.
Please also include:
- A cover sheet with the name of the play, your name as you expect to see it on publicity material, and contact information.
- A brief synopsis of the play
- A rough casting breakdown. Example: (3M, 4W)
- Brief descriptions of the characters
- Pertinent production notes (optional)
The nomination process for this award is now closed.
For questions, contact Subcommittee Chair Hank Willenbrink.