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The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

The David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award

Supported by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and Dramatic Publishing Company, The David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award is presented in an effort to promote the writing and production of new plays while honoring and perpetuating the memory of David Mark Cohen, Professor of Playwriting, the University of Texas-Austin. Developed by the Playwriting Program of ATHE and the National Playwriting Program of KCACTF, the award is intended to provide incentive to college and university theatre production departments to foster the growth and development of playwrights through the public presentations of unpublished full-length plays or a collection of shorter works for the stage that have not received a professional production.

This award may be presented to any working playwright (student, faculty, or guest artist) whose play is premiered and produced by a college or university theatre program and entered as an Associate or Participating entry within the KCACTF. All rules regulating entries into KCACTF are applicable to this award except those related to the definition of student playwrights.

David Mark Cohen, playwright and teacher, served KCACTF as National Playwriting Awards Committee Chair, 1990-1993, and was an active member of ATHE. He directed the MFA Playwriting Program at the University of Texas-Austin from 1989 until his untimely death in 1998. David was a consummate teacher who provided unrestricted support to developing playwrights.

  • First place award $1000.
  • The Dramatists Guild Award provides the playwright with Active membership in the Guild.
  • A professional development residency at the O'Neill Playwrights' Conference Presentation of a rehearsed reading of the play at the National ATHE conference in August (including $500 to defray travel and expenses for the playwright).

Playwrights will not be permitted to repeat as the recipient of the David Mark Cohen National Playwright Award.

Preliminary and final judging for the award will be managed by the National Playwriting Program of KCACTF along with the Playwriting Program of ATHE.

The play must comply with the guidelines for scripts entered in the KCACTF Michael Kanin Playwriting Program.

For other questions, refer to Rules and Procedures for the Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Program.

Previous Award Recipients

2016
Up the Hill by Keith Huff, produced by Carthage College.
Runner-up: The Boy Inside by Richard A. Kalinoski, produced by University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
2015
Mockingbird by Julie Jensen, Adapted from the book by Kathryn Erskine, Produced by Weber State University.
Runner-up: Corktown or Through the Valley of Dry Bones by Jeff Augustin, University of California - San Diego, Produced by Western Washington University.
2014
Co-Recipients:
Kafka in Tel Aviv by Peter Sampieri, Salem State University.
Windowmen by Steven Barkhimer, Boston University.
2013
And When We Woke There Was Light And Light by Laura Jacqmin, University of Oklahoma.
Runner-up: Girl Science by Larry Loebell, Arcadia University.
Third place: A Second Birthby Ariel Mitchell, Brigham Young University.
2012
The Adoration of Dora by Lauren Simon, University of Idaho
Runner-up: Lindsey's Oyster by Tammy Ryan, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
3rd Place: The Ballad of Chet (on the Eve of His Bliss) by Charles Erven, Fresno City College
2011
FALLUJAH by Evan Sanderson, Boston University
Runner-up: WHALES by Bob Bartlett, Catholic University of America
2010
The Power Behind the Palette by Mark Charney, Clemson University
2009
Deception Pass: An American Story by Kamarie Chapman, University of New Mexico
2008
Elephant's Graveyard by George Brant, University of Texas at Austin
2007
Spilling Stuff and Breaking Things, Ben Clawson, Montclair State University
2nd Place: In The Sawtooths, Dano Madden, Rutgers University premiered and produced by Boise State University
3rd Place: Baggage, Walt McGough, University of Virginia
2006
Canyon Suite by Chuck Erven, Fresno City College
2005
After by Ed Stevens, San Diego State University
2nd Place: Cow-Tipping and Other Signs of Stress by Gregory Fletcher, Playwrights' Theatre at Boston University
2nd Place: Writer’s Block by Stephen Hancock, University of Memphis
2004
Archipelago by LeeAnn Hill Adams, Brigham Young University
2nd Place: A Plague of Angels by Mark St. Germain, produced by University of Evansville
2nd Place: Good Morning Athens! A Rock Musical , book, music and lyrics by Sean Keogh, University of Wyoming
2003
Training Wisteria by Molly Smith Metzler, Playwrights' Theatre of Boston University
2nd Place: Cry Havoc by Tom Coash
3rd Place: Wax Work by Sarah Hammond
2002
In the Garden of Live Flowers by Lynne Conner and Attilio Favorini, University of Pittsburgh
2nd Place: Grasmere by Kristina Leach, California State University, Fullerton
3rd Place: Rainy Day People by Todd McCollough, University of Wyoming
2001
China Doll by Elizabeth Wong, Produced by Catawba College
2000
Sun Yat Sen in the Mouth of the Dragon by Edward Emmanuel, California State University, Fresno
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