Edward Medina Prize

The Edward Medina Prize for
Excellence in Cultural Criticism



Edward Medina at Sardi’s

The Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism is a new award for reviewers, critics, and journalists in the U.S. from under-represented groups (women, people of the global majority, trans, and non-binary) who write about theater and its role in highlighting people from various cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.


The purposes of the prize are to (1) cultivate relationships between ATCA and diverse critics, (2) encourage increased readership of cultural criticism composed by diverse writers, and (3) offer monetary support for critics from under-represented groups


The prize includes $1,000 for the recipient, one free year of ATCA membership, and a travel stipend to help offset some costs for an upcoming ATCA conference.


The Edward Medina Prize is sponsored in part by Critical Minded, an initiative to invest in cultural critics of color cofounded by The Nathan Cummings Foundation and The Ford Foundation.




[2023 applications closed.] 


The short application asks applicants to upload a short bio and up to three writing samples. Writing samples can be op-eds, long-form reviews, essays, or feature articles.


All applications are reviewed by a panel of judges who are professionals in theater, journalism, and/or communications. 2023 applications were open from July 10, 2023 at midnight ET to August 11, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET. All applicants will be notified of their application status by October 1, 2023. The Medina Prize will be presented in November 2023.


2023 Judges


Claudia Alick, founder and director of Calling Up Justice
Wei Huan Chen, journalist
Mirla Criste, theater professional and professor
Lydia Fort, director and professor at Emory University
Russell G. Jones, actor and Ensemble Studio Theatre board member
Alex Meda, artistic director of Studio Luna and director of engagement for the National New Play Network
Yura Sapi, founder of LiberArte and Arts Administrators of Color board member
Mashaun Simon, marketing and public relations manager at the Alliance Theatre



About Edward Medina


Edward Medina was a proud Nuyorican, whose rich background and multifaceted talents served to create a strong, well-established life within the arts and entertainment industry. Beginning as a young magician and performer, then throughout his storied career, Medina brought his flair for the theatrical and deep understanding of the value of the arts to his roles as a recognized and award-winning producer, director, author, and eventually critic.


Medina was especially honored, as a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, to have served on the Executive Committee as well as the Membership and Belonging, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committees, until his death in 2021. During his time with ATCA, Medina heavily emphasized needs for increasing diversity within theatrical production and criticism, as well as providing fresh opportunities and support for new critics finding their calling to this vital field of the arts.


To learn more about Edward Medina, please visit his website.


  • 2023 November 12 — Gloria Oladipo received Medina Prize and interviewed by Brittani Samuel during ATCANY2023
  • 2023 October 18 — Gloria Oladipo announced second annual Medina prize winner
  • 2022 November 13 — Brittani Samuel and Helbing Mentorship Program fellow Billy McEntee interviewed by Helbing committee chair Chris Byrne during  ATCANY2022
  • 2022 October 27 — Brittani Samuel announced inaugural Medina Prize winner