From its roots in the Hamburg National Theatre, the role of the dramaturg fulfils a centuries-old production tradition, yet it remains difficult to define and easy to misunderstand. The contextual and research-based lifeblood of any production, the dramaturg’s work exists in any number of guises and functions, which include workshop support in new play development; pre-production research preparation; company enrichment; pre- and post-show audience engagement; data collection; and community outreach, amongst many others. Today, traditional modes of dramaturgy expand into and adapt technological innovation, new approaches to text, and fresh foundations for methods of production support, all based in a core value of seeking a deeper understanding in the work at hand.  The LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Initiative recognizes excellence in student dramaturgy from across the region, and the exciting innovations which bring dramaturgy into the 21st century.

In recognition of the quality and wide variety of student dramaturgical approaches across the region, the KCACTF and the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America (LMDA) have united to present the KCACTF/LMDA Regional Dramaturgy Award. Student dramaturgs present a sample of their work for evaluation by a professional guest dramaturg, who will select one outstanding individual for recognition, which includes a cash prize, a one-year membership to the LMDA, and an invitation to submit materials for the Kennedy Center’s national festival, where, if selected, they will have the opportunity for additional professional enrichment. The recipients of the National LMDA/KCACTF Fellowships receive residencies with the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, or the Kennedy Center/National New Play Network’s MFA Playwrights’ Workshop in the summer. In addition, recognition will be offered in the areas of outstanding collaborative team, outstanding program note, and outstanding digital dramaturgy.

  • Distinctiveness: what is creative about the dramaturg’s approach and/or analysis?
  • Contextualization: how is the production or project enhanced by dramaturgical analysis or research; alternatively, how is the academic project in dramaturgy imaginatively projected into a larger social, political, academic or artistic setting?
  • Impact: in what way are the audience, artists or institution enriched by dramaturgical ideas and execution?
  • Ethics: how are issues that might be raised by the terms of the collaboration or changing responsibilities dealt with and/or resolved?
  • Significance: how does this project inform, challenge or advance the field of dramaturgy, in general and/or within the student’s school?

The LMDA/KCACTF Dramaturgy Award is open to both undergraduate and graduate students who have completed dramaturgy work, in whichever sense they define that. While most submissions focus on production dramaturgy, new play development and dramaturgy class case studies are also eligible for consideration. If a student holds multiple roles on a project, they will be expected to identify how their dramaturgical work was distinct from their other tasks. Recent graduates and students who are not currently enrolled are also eligible for consideration. Projects must be concluded by the listed deadline, and to be eligible, students must physically attend the Festival’s portfolio review session and are strongly encouraged to take part in the other dramaturgy enrichment opportunities offered throughout the week

LMDA/KCACTF Application

Fill out the application form, identifying the dramaturg and the project and include two statements written by the dramaturg


  • Enclose at least one letter of nomination from a faculty member. If you wish, you may include more letters of support from persons directly related to the project.
  • Include a compiled selection of supporting material of no more than one hundred pages which best represents your work. Be selective among your dramaturgy materials, which might include research, dramaturgy notes, images of lobby displays, study guides, production team communications, and accounts of challenges. If you have developed a digital dramaturgy presence, this can also be submitted to supplement your application, or can be linked to from your supporting material. Please be mindful when curating your supporting material, and create a package that is self-explanatory and efficient, with a well-organized table of contents for easy navigation.
  • Consider how you will physically present your application in person at the Festival. This may include a limited reproduction of lobby materials, outreach, a binder with printed supporting materials, physical research or artifacts, or a laptop to display your digital presence. Keep in mind that the physical display of your materials will be the best public representation of your work, but this will be only marginally considered in the award. Each display will have space in the assigned dramaturgy presentation area, and should prominently feature the name of the production and the dramaturg, but not the producing institution.
  • All display materials must be installed in the assigned dramaturgy area by the end of the registration day, unless specially arranged.

    **To be considered for the dramaturgy award, applicants must attend the portfolio review at the Festival.**

    Dramaturgy applications can be submitted throughout the year.

    NEW DEADLINE! Entries must be submitted by December 20, 2019.


    Toby Malone

    Toby Malone


    SUNY Oswego

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