Osborn New Play Award

The M. Elizabeth Osborn Award

The M. Elizabeth Osborn Award (currently $3,000), is determined by ATCA’s New Play committee and given in memory of Theatre Communications Group and American Theatre play editor M. Elizabeth Osborn (1941-1993).


The award goes to playwrights who may have established themselves regionally or in smaller theaters, but have yet to obtain national recognition or mainstage productions at prominent professional theaters in New York City or around the country.

Betty Osborn was a director, dramaturg, critic, writer, member of ATCA, and a longtime staffer at Theatre Communications Group. She was a passionate proponent of artists she believed deserved more opportunities and national attention, and was particularly interested in emerging playwrights with distinct theatrical voices who brought something new to the American stage.


Her family helped ATCA found the Osborn Award after Betty’s untimely death from cancer in 1993, at age 52. The award has encouraged and supported a wide range of works by playwrights over the years whose artistry deserves more exposure.

A full list of Osborn Award winners appears below.

  • 2024: Jennifer Vosters, Songs Without Words, Milwaukee Fringe Festival.
  • 2023: Madison Fiedler, Spay, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Chicago.
  • 2022: Makasha Copeland, Extreme Home Makeover, Theatre Exile, Philadelphia.
  • 2021: Douglas Williams, Ship, Azuka Theatre, Philadelphia.
  • 2020: Dan McCabe, The Purists, Huntington Theatre, Boston.
  • 2019: Spenser Davis, Plainclothes, Den Theatre, Chicago.
  • 2018: Chelsea Marcantel, Airness, Humana Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville.
  • 2017: Nate Eppler, The Ice Treatment, Actors Bridge Ensemble/Nashville Repertory Theatre.
  • 2016: Jonathan Norton, Mississippi Godddamn, South Dallas Cultural Center.
  • 2015: Tom Coash, Veils, Portland Stage, Maine.
  • 2014: Topher Payne, Perfect Arrangement, The Source Festival, 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.
  • 2008: Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, Gee’s Bend, Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
  • 2006: Ken LaZebnik, Vestibular Sense, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Minneapolis.
  • 2005: J.T. Rogers, Madagascar, Salt Lake Acting Company, Salt Lake City.
  • 2004: Rolin Jones, The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow, South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, CA.
  • 2003: John Walch, The Dinosaur Within, State Theatre, Austin.
  • 2002: Mia McCullough, Chagrin Falls, Stage Left Theatre, Chicago.
  • 2001: S.M. Shephard-Massat, Waiting to be Invited, Denver Center Theatre Company.
  • 2000: Coby Goss, Marked Tree, Senachai Theatre, Chicago.
  • 1999: Dan O’Brien, Lamarck, Perishable Theatre Company, Providence.
  • 1998: Rebecca Gilman, Glory, Circle Theatre, Chicago.
  • 1997: Keith Glover, Thunder Knocking at the Door, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.
  • 1996: Richard Kalinoski, Beast on the Moon, Humana Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville.
  • 1995: Charlie Varon, Rush Limbaugh in High School, The Marsh Theatre, San Francisco.
  • 1994: Anne Galjour, Hurricane, San Francisco Solo Mio Festival.