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ATHE 2020 Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award
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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, KCACTF, 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.). Nominated plays must have been written during the two years preceding the national conference. (For instance, nominees for the 2020 Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award must have been written in 2018 or 2019).

This award is administered in collaboration with KCACTF. Qualifying plays should be submitted to No submission fees are required. Only full-length plays, in Samuel French Playwriting Format, may be nominated for this award. Only one play may be submitted per playwright 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 The plays can be produced or unproduced but must be unpublished.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 a staged 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).

View a list of past awardees here

Submission Guidelines

  • Electronic submissions are required. Word, PDF, and Rich Text formats preferred.
  • Samuel French script formatting required.
  • Submissions will be limited to the first 150 received.
  • Although we do permit the submission of musicals, the limitations of staff and resources will make it difficult for us to produce such material.
  • We do not accept screenplays.
  • 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 competitions simultaneously.
  • Plays must be full-length. The rule of thumb is that plays under an hour are not full length.
  • 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 (3M, 4W)
  • Brief descriptions of the characters
  • Pertinent production notes

For questions, contact Subcommittee Chair Hank Willenbrink.

The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2019.

Please submit nominations to

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