skip navigation | text only | accessibility | site map
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award

Supported by the Kennedy Center Education Department, The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, initiated in 1977, is part of the Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Program. The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award is presented in the memory of the distinguished dramatist for the outstanding KCACTF student-written plays on the subject of the African-American experience. Hansberry was the first African-American playwright, and the youngest of any color, to win the New York Drama Critics Award for her drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which opened on Broadway in 1959. Lorraine Hansberry died in 1965 of cancer, at age thirty-four, at the peak of her career.

The Lorraine Hansberry Awards recognize the outstanding plays written by students of African or Diasporan descent that best express the African American experience.

  • A first place cash award of $1,000.
  • The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival will provide the award recipient with an all-expenses paid professional development opportunity.
  • The Dramatists Guild Award provides the playwright with Active membership in the Guild.
  • The second place award is a cash prize of $500.

The play must be produced by a college or university or publicly presented in a "rehearsed" or "staged reading" format following a significant development process. The play 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
Br'er Cotton by Tearrance A. Chisholm, Catholic University of America
Second Place - A is for Apron by Leviticus Jelks, Carnegie-Mellon University
2015
Corktown or Through the Valley of Dry Bones by Jeff Augustin, University of California - San Diego
Second Place - Hooded or Being Black for Dummies by Tearrance A. Chisholm, Catholic University of America
2014
Little Children Dream of God by Jeff Augustin, University of California - San Diego
Runner-up - Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea by Nathan Davis, Indiana University
2013
The Wind And The Breeze by Nathan Davis, Indiana University
Runner-up - Battle Cry by Bianca Sams, Ohio University
Third Place - Delta Secret by Prince Duren, University of Arkansas
2012
Cry Old Kingdom, by Jeff Augustin, University of California – San Diego
Runner-up - The Urban Retreat by A. Zell Williams, New York University
2011
The Contract by James Webb, New York University
2010
King Nigga by Ayanna Maia Saulsberry, New York University
Runner-up - Refraction by Ronald McCants, University of California, San Diego
2009
Flat Sam by Antoinette Nwandu, New York University
Runner-up - South Bridge by Reginald Edmund, Ohio University
2008
Donalyn Elder's Mythology of Grass, Part I: Miracle on Monroe by Jerome Augustus Parker, University of California, Los Angeles
2007
CLICK-BOOM by Nakia Oglesby, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
2006
One Fell Swoop, Isaac Charles Holter, DePaul University
The Last Black Play by Nathan Louis Jackson, Ebony Theatre Company of Kansas State Univeristy
2005
Hoodoo Love by Katori Hall, Harvard University
2004
Revelations: The Outtakes by Christina Anderson, Brown University
2003
The Mancherios by Nathan Louis Jackson, Kansas State University
2002
First Place: Familiar by Kirsten Greenidge, University of Iowa
Second Place: Streethawker by John Adekoje, Humboldt State University, California
2001
First Place: Whiteout by Alan Newton, English Alternative Theatre of the University of Kansas
Second Place: Feeding Beatrice by Kristen Greenidge, University of Iowa
1999
First Place: The Bow Wow Club by Levi "Lee" Simon, Jr., University of Iowa, Iowa City
Second Place: A Noose for Bettyanne by Javon Johnson, Kuntu Repertory Theatre of the University of Pittsburgh
1998
Papa's Blues by Javon Johnson, Kuntu Repertory Theatre of the University of Pittsburgh
1997
First Place: Miss Nowhere Diner, Kathleen F. Potts, University of Southern Maine
Second Place: A Preface to the Alien Garden by Robert Alexander, University of Iowa
1996
First Place: Moments Above the Underground by Geryll Robinson, University of Southern Iliinois
Second Place: An' Push da Wind Down by Lisa Harper, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
1995
First Place: Make-up Stories by Eric C. Waldemar, Jr., University of Maryland, College Park
Second Place: Sunshine Playlot by Dominic Taylor, Brown University
1994
First Place: Hedy Understands Anxiety by Angela Counts, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Second Place: The Miracle Church by Sybil Berry, University of Pittsburgh, Kuntu Repertory Theatre
1993
Talking Bones by Shay Youngblood, Brown University
1992
>Strands by Eric Wilson, University of Missouri, Columbia
1991
Union Station by Marta Effinger, University of Pittsburgh
1989
First Place: Home by Theresa Love, University of California, Davis
Second Place: City Women by Danna Wilner, University of Portland
1988
Peabody Duck by Leslie Wade, University of California, Santa Barbara
1987
First Place: Inside/Out by Tom Coash, University of California, Davis
Second Place: Caught in the Middle and No Way Out by Michael Holland, SUNY, Brockport
1986
First Place: The Peacemaker by Arnold Pinnix, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro
Second Place: Mournin' by Carolyn Cole, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
1984
First Place: Eleven Zulu by Patrick Sean Clark, University of Missouri, Columbia
Second Place: Snooks McAllister Lives at My House by Robyn Claire Williams, Loyola University, Chicago
1983
First Place: The Bulldog and the Bear, Richard Gordon, California State University, Fullerton
Second Place: The Silent Warrior, Charles Smith, University of Iowa, Iowa City
1982
First Place: Asaga Kimashita, Velina Houston, University of California, Los Angeles
Second Place: Enemies, Karen Boettcher, Portland State University
1981
First Place: Big Bucks and Three Piece Suits, 'Til Kingdom Come, Amen!, Joseph Mitchell, Eastern Washington University
Second Place: Second Doctor Lady/The Reconstruction of Dossie Hemphill, Endesha Holland, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
1980
First Place: Silent Octaves, Brenda Faye Collie, University of Iowa
Second Place: That's Life, Charley Vance, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
Second Place: Nobody, An Evening with Bert Williams, Vincent D. Smith, University of Maryland, College Park
1979
The American Chalk Circle, Richard Russell, San Jose State University
Throw Me Something, Mr. God, Daniel DuPlantis, Nichols State University
1978
First Place: The Ballad of Charley Sweet, Farrell Foreman, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
Second Place: 227, Christine Houston, Kennedy-King College
1977
First Place: A Star Ain't Nothin' But a Hole in Heaven, Judi Ann Mason, Grambling College
Second Place: Oh, Oh Freedom, Irwin Washington, University of California, Los Angeles
up