The American Theatre Critics Association, Inc. is the only national association of professional theatre critics. Our members work for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and on-line services across the United States. Membership is open to all who review theatre professionally, regularly and with substance for print, electronic or digital media.

Learn more



The M. Elizabeth Osborn Award

The M. Elizabeth Osborn Award was established in 1993, named for Theatre Communications Group and American Theatre play editor M. Elizabeth Osborn, a fondly remembered ATCA member. The award now carries a $1,000 cash award and receives recognition in the Best Plays theater yearbook. It recognizes a work by an author whose plays have not yet received a major production, such as off-Broadway or Broadway, nor received other major national awards.

Scripts are nominated by ATCA members and the winner is selected by a hard-working ATCA committee. Although the winner is announced earlier, the Osborn Award is typically presented during the Actors Theater of Louisville’s Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays, at the same time as the Steinberg/ATCA Award.

The 2014 Winner


ATCA announces that Topher Payne has won its 2014 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for an emergingPlaywright Topher Payneplaywright. The award will be presented April 5 at the Humana Theater Festival at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville.

The Osborn Award recognizes Payne’s play, Perfect Arrangement, which premiered in June 2013 at The Source Festival in Washington D.C., directed by Linda Lombardi. The award is designed to recognize the work of an author who has not yet achieved national stature. Last year it went to Keri Healey for Torso. Previous winners have included Yussef El Guindi, Rebecca Gilman, Keith Glover and Richard Kalinoski.

For more about Payne and Perfect Arrangement, click here for full press release.

Recent Winners

Keri Healey wins 2013 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award. Read press release.

Playwright Darren Canady wins 2012 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award. Read press release.

Playwright Cori Thomas wins 2011 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award
Read press release.

Playwright Jason Wells wins 2010 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award
Read press release.


Playwright Yussef El Guindi wins 2009 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award
Read Press Release

ATCA honors Playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder with 2008 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award
Read Press Release

Complete Roster of Osborn Winners

(The gap for 2007 is because the dating changed: instead of dating the award by the year for which it is given, it is now dated by the year in which it is presented.)

2014: Topher Payne, Perfect Arrangement, The Source Festioval, Washington, D.C.

2013: Keri Healey, Torso, Printers Devil Theatre, Seattle.
2012: Darren Canady, Brothers of the Dust, Congo Square Theatre, Chicago
2011: Cori Thomas, When January Feels Like Summer, City Theatre, Pittsburgh
2010: Jason Wells, Perfect Mendacity, Asolo Repertory Theatre
2009: Yussel El Guindi, Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat, Silk Road Theatre Project, Chicago, IL

2008: Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, Gee’s Bend, Alabama Shakespeare Festival
2006: Ken LaZebnik, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN
2005: J.T. Rogers, Madagascar, Salt Lake Acting Company, Salt Lake City, UT
2004: Rolin Jones, South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, CA
2003: John Walch, State Theatre, Austin, TX
2002: Mia McCullough, Stage Left Theatre, Chicago, IL
2001: S.M. Shephard-Massat, Denver Center Theatre Company, Denver, CO
2000: Coby Goss, Senachai Theatre, Chicago, IL
1999: Dan O’Brien, the Perishable Theatre Company, Providence, RI
1998: Rebecca Gilman
1997: Keith Glover
1996: Richard Kalinoski
1995: Charlie Varon
1994: Anne Galjour