LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award
Also inherent in the guidelines is the belief that the dramaturg should participate fully and uniquely in the collaborative act of making theater and in promoting social discourse around the theatrical event. To validate the significance of the dramaturg’s contributions – and to raise awareness of dramaturgy in the academic field – the Kennedy Center requires a letter of nomination from a faculty member.
This award is the result of a unique collaboration between Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), the professional association of dramaturgs and literary managers working in North America, and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), a national program dedicated to improving the quality of college and university theater in the United States. Additional support is provided by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). Professional dramaturgs, members of LMDA who live in each region, will select the winner of that region’s LMDA/KCACTF Student Award in Dramaturgy.
Who is eligible?Undergraduate and graduate students who work specifically as the dramaturg on a production or workshop, or who submit work created for a dramaturgy class. If the project is a workshop or production, the student must be credited as the dramaturg. A student who also writes, directs, designs, performs in, or otherwise collaborates on a project will be responsible for articulating the boundaries of the dramaturgical work and speaking on its behalf. The student need not be enrolled full-time to submit work for this award, but we do encourage dramaturges to attend the regional festival to represent their works.
Program Note Award
The Program Note Award recognizes the work of student dramaturgs who write engaging, informative program note for participating or associate KCACTF entries during this Festival year (January-December). Entrants submit an application form, as well as a copy of the note as it appeared in the program of a participating or associate status production.
Fellowship Opportunities: Regional Fellowship recipients will receive membership in LMDA, an all-expense-paid residency at the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in mid-April, and multi-day workshops with leading artists in both production and new-play dramaturgy. 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.
Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate student dramaturgs on a production or workshop, or who submit work created for a dramaturgy class. Students need not be enrolled full-time to submit work for consideration for this award. Projects must be completed (plays closed, workshops completed, projects turned in) by December 1 to be eligible. Projects completed after December 1 may be submitted for this award the following year.
Due to the smaller overall pool of students who are participating in these areas, all eight regional award recipients in each area will now be considered by a national panel of leading artists in the field, and the top four candidates in each area will be selected to attend the national festival.
Deadline for receipt of everything, including all supporting materials as a PDF file, is January 15.
“Going in, I thought, if I had to explain dramaturgy to somebody who’s never heard of it before, has no context for what the role is, how would I boil it down in a way that would make sense for a broader audience? So I came up with a little script for what I was gonna say. I said that while the role can differ depending on whether you’re working on new-play development or in production, the role of a dramaturg, generally speaking, refers to someone who works in the capacity of a researcher or advisor on a theatrical production. My little line was: I’m there to ask questions and help answer them, which I think is really a useful way of thinking through ways to be useful in the room.”
Madison Mae Williams, a dramaturg who recently appeared on Jeopardy, as quoted in a profile in American Theatre Magazine, October 28, 2021
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 on a core value of seeking a deeper understanding of the work at hand.
In 2022, the eight Regions will join forces to present centralized Dramaturgy programming which will include workshops, master classes, and discussions curated by all of KCACTF’s Dramaturgy Coordinators, National Dramaturgy Advisor, dramaturg Mark Bly, and the leadership of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA). Regional Festivals will still host dramaturgy workshops and opportunities, but the selection process for the LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award will take place through the centralized program.
Students interested in dramaturgy and literary management are encouraged to register for this program. The 2022 Festival Season offers us the opportunity to connect with fellow theatre artists and dramaturgs from across the country.
There are two ways of engaging:
- Participation with Consideration for the LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Award – Submit a project (details below) to receive responses from faculty and professional dramaturgs, and be considered for selection for the National Festival.
- Participation Only– Register to participate in the workshops, master classes, and discussions.
What to Expect
The 2022 Dramaturgy program will include a total of nine hours of gatherings on Zoom spread out over six weeks in January and February.
Two hours every other Monday will include master classes and workshops with professional dramaturgs. The third hour is a “homeroom” that will be scheduled and hosted by Regional Dramaturgy Coordinators during the week.
How To Apply
Enclose one Letter of Nomination from a faculty member. (If you wish, you may also enclose additional letters from others directly involved—collaborating artists, audience members, fellow students, or teachers.)
Include a project description consisting of two statements written by the dramaturg—one describing the breadth and scope of the project and its challenges, and the other detailing the process from start to finish.
Include all supporting materials that seem relevant, but not to exceed 100 pages:
- E-mail correspondence between the dramaturg and the director, designers, cast, etc.;
- Pictures of the dramaturgical display;
- Information from websites created;
- Questions discussed and explored during the process;
- Information gathered for individual packets.
The judges need not see all that you researched; rather, they are interested in a clearly organized and accessible overview of the research materials. They are particularly interested in your analysis of the material.
what is creative about the dramaturg’s approach or analysis?
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?
in what ways are the audience, artists, or institution enriched by dramaturgical ideas and execution?
how much and in what ways is the dramaturg involved with the entire process? How did s/he contribute to the process outside of initial research and putting together packets?
how are issues that might be raised by the terms of the collaboration or changing responsibilities dealt with or resolved?
For further information, please click here.
Submit prior to January 15
The recipients of the National LMDA/KCACTF Fellowships receive residencies with the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and/or the Kennedy Center/National New Play Network’s MFA Playwrights’ Workshop in the summer.