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Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

The Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award

Supported by VSA, an affiliate of the Kennedy Center, The Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, named after the founder of VSA, is offered for the outstanding student-written script that explores the human experience of living with a disability (please consult the Americans With Disabilities Act for the full definition of Disability).

  • The award recipient will receive a cash award of $2,500.
  • Dramatists Guild Award. The Dramatists Guild Award provides the playwright with Active membership in the Guild.
  • Professional Development Fellowship. The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival will provide the award recipient with an all-expenses paid professional development opportunity.

VSA was founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all. With a network of international and nationwide affiliates, VSA is changing perceptions about people with disabilities around the world.

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

For other questions, refer to the Americans With Disabilities Act and the “Rules and Procedures for the Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Program” above.

The Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award Winners

2011 (co-winners)
The Man in the Sukkah by Deborah Yarchun, University of Iowa
Absense by Peter Floyd, Playwright's Theatre of Boston University
2010
IN A WORD by Lauren Yee, University of California-San Diego
2009
Have a Heart by Lisa Beth Allen, University of New Orleans
2008
Past Perfect, Future Tense - John-Paul Nickel, Carnegie-Mellon University
2007
Sick - Zayd Dohrn, New York University
2006
Samaritan, Mary Unser, Carnegie Mellon University
2nd Place - The Lazarus Syndrome, Bruce Ward, Boston University
2005 (co-winners)
Arts and Science, David Roby, Illinois State University
The Family Frost, Terry Davis, University of New Mexico
2004
Get Off by Paul McCabe, Ithaca College
2003
Quid Pro Quo by Garrett Zuercher, Marquette University
2002
The Nature of the Nautilus, by Ian Finley, University of Utah
2001
And David Danced by Jonathan Pope Evans, William Carey College
2000
A Simple Autumn, Kevin Schneipp, Viterbo College, La Crosse, Wisconsin
1999
The Great Frozen Man, Jeannine Saunders, Wichita State University, Kansas