About the Contest

Submissions for 2019 closed at midnight, March 1, 2019. The winner, to be announced in early June, will receive $1000 and a rehearsed reading at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, Florida, on August 10th.

Founded by the Women in Theater Program in 1984, the Jane Chambers Playwriting Contest honors lesbian poet, playwright, and novelist Jane Chambers (1937-1983), whose influence on the American stage was shaped by her female-centered plays such as A Late Snow (1974), Last Summer at Bluefish Cove (1980), Kudzu (1981), and My Blue Heaven (1982). Since 1998, the contest has been awarded in tandem with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), following fourteen years sponsored solely by WTP. Each year two winning plays are chosen — one for the main division and one student play — as well as a cadre of runners-up, all of which are publicized within WTP, ATHE, LMDA, and to the press. The prize offers heightened visibility for the playwright and the winning plays.

As Rebecca Schneider noted, “The recognition connected to the Jane Chambers Award can make an extraordinary difference to a career at any stage, but it is particularly critical to women whose work is as yet unknown” (2002). The contest helps to increase finalists’ production access by publicizing their work to literary managers and agents, university audiences, and producers. In so doing, the contest helps plays to find their audiences and theatres their playwrights.