The Terrence McNally Award logo
“I am confident this award will help identify the next generation of American playwrights who understand the special power of theatre to transform hearts and minds and that Philadelphia Theatre Company will continue to be a welcoming venue for them.”
-Terrence McNally

October 25th, 2021 – Submissions Open

January 10th, 2022 – Submissions Close

April 11th, 2022 – Winner Announced

About the Terrence McNally Award:

For every generation of playwrights, there are the select few whose work is truly transformative and who use the power of theatre to reach the hearts and minds of audiences. Terrence McNally was one such playwright, and we at PTC are forever grateful for the long and fruitful relationship we had with him, established by former Artistic Director Sara Garonzik. PTC produced four McNally world premieres: Master Class, Unusual Acts of Devotion, Golden Age, and Some Men, and the Philadelphia regional premieres of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Love!Valour!Compassion!, and Mothers and Sons. It is with great joy that PTC announces the 2022 Terrence McNally Award to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Terrence McNally, who passed away in March of 2020 due to complications from COVID.

The Terrence McNally Award was established in 2012 and revived in 2021. Past winners from 2012-2015 are James Ijames, Bill Cain, A. Zell Williams, and Martín Zimmerman.  In 2021, the Terrence McNally Award was given to Donja R. Love for his play What Will Happen to All That Beauty?  Philadelphia Theatre Company will produce a reading of the play in 2022. 

When it was first created, the Award recognized new plays that celebrated themes central to McNally’s work; social justice, queer rights, and the transformative power of art. McNally was a provocateur, and his work was sly and subversive. In 2022, the Terrence McNally Award promises to push the conversation forward in a way that builds upon McNally’s artistic mission. Last year, for the first time, the Terrence McNally Award was given to a Philadelphia playwright.  This year, we will once again look to the Philadelphia community to seek playwrights who create art that is subversive and provocative. 

With the blessing of Terrence McNally’s husband, producer Tom Kirdahy, PTC hopes to shine a light on the next generation of transformative writers in theatre and help them leave a mark on the playwriting world just as McNally did.

In 2022, the Terrence McNally Award-winning playwright will receive a cash award of $5,000 and development at PTC, including readings as well as administrative and dramaturgical support.  The company also will facilitate access to professional connections to help manage the future of the playwright and their work following its exploration at PTC, and will publicize both the prize and subsequent presentations.  We understand that each playwright may seek a different form of support for their play; as such, PTC will offer support tailored to the needs and goals of the winner.

The submission window will open on October 25th, 2021, and close on January 10th, 2022.  The winner of the Terrence McNally Award will be announced on April 11th, 2022.

To learn more about the guidelines and eligibility for the Terrence McNally Award please see below.

2021 Winner

Donja R. Love, for What Will Happen to All That Beauty?

a headshot of Terrence McNally winner Donja Love

Donja R. Love (he/him/his) is Black, Queer, HIV-Positive, and thriving. A Philly native, his work examines the forced absurdity of life for those who identify as Black, Queer, and HIV-positive –  a diverse intersection filled with eloquent stories that challenge the white supremacist, heteronormative structures that exist in American culture. He’s the recipient of the Antonyo’s inaugural Langston Hughes Award, the Helen Merrill Award, the Laurents/Hatcher Award and the Princess Grace Playwriting Award. Other honors include The Lark’s Van Lier New Voices Fellowship, The Playwrights Realm’s Writing Fellowship, and the Philadelphia Adult Grand Slam Poetry Champion. He’s the co-founder of The Each-Other Project, an organization that helps build community and provide visibility, through art and advocacy, for LGBTQ+ People of Color. He’s also the creator of Write It Out – a playwrights’ program for writers living with HIV. Plays include soft (MCC), one in two (The New Group), Fireflies (Atlantic Theater Company), Sugar in Our Wounds (Manhattan Theatre Club, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Nominations), and The Trade. He sits on the board at The Lark and is an Artistic Councilmember at People’s Theatre Project. He’s a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at The Juilliard School.

McNally Finalists

Paige Zubel – PTC Playwriting Fellow

Jarrett McCreary and Lori Felipe-Barkin – Honorable Mention

Jarrett McCreary
Lori Felipe-Barkin
Lee Edward
Colston II
Griffin Horn
DIRT, ASH, DEAD TREE Flor Underwater The First Deep Breath Our Hopeful Anxious Hearts
Nikki Brake-Sillá
Rachel Graf Evans
Donja R. Love
Trouble of the World Pheromone What Will Happen to All That Beauty?
Erlina Ortiz
L M Feldman
Paige Zubel
Bruch Walsh
Las Mujeres A People Actually, Honestly,
Going to Fucking Die
Prospect Hill

Supported by

Dr. Peter H. Arger in memory of Donald S. Wilf