Deadline: December 31, 2024



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theatre production departments to foster the growth and development of playwrights through the public presentations of unpublished full-length plays or a collection of shorter works for the stage that have not received a professional production.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).

Comments from NMI Staff:

Entry information found here:

Applications for 2025 are not yet open.

CONTACT NAME: Susan Shaffer
CONTACT PHONE: 202.416.8857
        The David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award
        Susan Shaffer
        The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
        Washington, DC 20566-0001
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