“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.”
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.
- The applicant must have been born in, raised in, or currently reside in the Philadelphia area in order to be eligible for the Terrence McNally Award. The applicant will be asked how they identify as a Philadelphia writer; the intent of the criteria is to be inclusive.
- The applicant must be over the age of 18.
- The applicant must have a full length play ready to submit for consideration.
- The Terrence McNally award is intended to support emerging playwrights. Playwrights may only win the award once.
- Please submit a full length play written for the stage that you think best represents your work as a playwright. Terrence McNally’s plays were known to focus on three themes, which we hope our winning playwight will amplify: social justice, queer rights, and the transformative power of art. Please keep this in mind when choosing your submission.
- Plays that have been fully produced more than once or published are not eligible for the Terrence McNally Award. Plays that have had a workshop, reading, or non-professional production will be considered.
- Plays may not be under option or commision at the time of submission.
- If you applied to the 2021 Terrence McNally Award and submitted three excerpts, you are permitted to resubmit one of the three excerpts as a full-length play. If you wish to resubmit a full-length play from last year, we encourage you to submit only if you made substantive revisions to the play.
- Playwrights may submit a work that is co-authored but only the submitting artist will be eligible for the award.
- The work submitted should be primarily in English.
- Scripts must be typed and arranged in professional play script format. Please provide a synopsis and character breakdown with your play or sample.
- Please type your entry in a reasonable font and include stage directions where necessary.
- Please submit your work as a .pdf so that all formatting will remain intact and no edits can be accidentally made while your submission is being reviewed.
- Entries must be received by the deadline to be considered.
- All entries are final, but playwrights will have the opportunity for feedback and revision between selection as a winner and any public presentation.
- If you have representation, please include your representation’s contact information on the cover page of your submission, along with your preference for whom to contact (it may be the playwright directly)
- Entries will be adjudicated by a panel of artists and peers drawn from the Philadelphia Theatre Community, the industry and the Company.
- The winner will be notified by email and announced publicly.
- October 25th, 2021 – Submissions Open
- January 10th, 2022 – Submissions Close
- April 11th, 2022 – Winner Announced
If you are a playwright who would like to submit their work for the Terrence McNally Award please submit using this google form.
If you do not have a Gmail account, or have trouble accessing the application online, you may submit your application directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please answer the following questions within your email, making sure to number each answer accordingly, and attach a .pdf of your submission.
- Full Name of Applicant (First and Last):
- What are your pronouns?
- Title of submission:
- Describe how you identify as a Philadelphia playwright.
- Terrence McNally’s work often centered around three issues: queer rights, social justice and the transformative power of art. Describe how your submission represents the spirit of Terrence McNally’s artistic mission. Does it amplify, build-up, expand, tell in a new way, the stories that provoke, illuminate, and hold up the core themes about which McNally wrote?
- Are you over the age of 18?
- What is the best way to contact you?
Donja R. Love, for What Will Happen to All That Beauty?
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.
Paige Zubel – PTC Playwriting Fellow
Jarrett McCreary and Lori Felipe-Barkin – Honorable Mention
|DIRT, ASH, DEAD TREE||Flor Underwater||The First Deep Breath||Our Hopeful Anxious Hearts|
|Rachel Graf Evans
|Donja R. Love
|Trouble of the World||Pheromone||What Will Happen to All That Beauty?|
|L M Feldman
|Las Mujeres||A People||Actually, Honestly,
Going to Fucking Die