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AATE Awards Descriptions
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Index of Award Descriptions

Achievement Awards
Distinguished Book and Play Awards
Research Awards
Research Award
Winifred Ward Scholar
Distinguished Dissertation/Thesis Award
Judith Kase-Cooper Honorary Research Award
Research Award

Awards No Longer Presented
Jennie Heiden Award
Phi Beta Fraternity Award
Walter Peck Memorial Award

Ann Flagg Multicultural Award
Honors an individual, organization or company making significant contributions to the field of theatre/drama for youth or arts education dealing with multicultural issues and/or reaching diverse audiences and constituencies. This award is open to persons of any ethnic, racial or cultural background and to non-members of AATE. Named in honor of Ann Flagg, who worked as an elementary drama teacher in the Evanston, Illinois School District 65 and as a director and playwright at Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio.

Barbara Salisbury Wills Alliance Award
Honors a member of the American Alliance for Theatre & Education for long-term and sustained service to the organization. Formerly called the Alliance Award, in 1999 it was renamed in honor of Barbara Salisbury Wills, who served as AATE's President at its inception and as the first Executive Director.

Campton Bell Lifetime Achievement Award
Honors an individual for a lifetime of outstanding contributions to the field. Named in honor of Campton Bell who served as President of CTC, Professor at the University of Denver and one of the founders of the Children's Theatre Foundation.

Charlotte B. Chorpenning Playwright Award
Honors a nationally known writer of outstanding plays for children. This award recognizes a body of work and not a single play and is named in honor of playwright Charlotte B. Chorpenning of the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Prior to 1967, it was given for exceptional exhibits and displays at the national convention.

Creative Drama Award
Formerly known as the Creative Drama for Human Awareness Award, this award honors a person or persons for outstanding achievement and service as a Creative Drama Specialist. Creative Drama is concerned with the inner creative and social growth of young people and does not in itself lead to a production for an audience. Nominees must be members of AATE.

Dina Reese Evans Theatre In Our Schools Award
Formerly known as the Dina Rees Evans Theatre in Our Schools Month Award, this award honors exemplary programs and individuals in support of Theatre in Our Schools, a project of AATE and the Educational Theatre Association (ETA). It is named in honor of Dina Rees Evans who was a secondary school educator, director of Cain Park Theatre and one of the founders of the national Secondary School Theatre Association. Starting in 1996, two categories were instituted: one for a state program, the other for an individual effort.

Distinguished Book Award
Honors an author and publisher for the outstanding book relating to any aspect of the field published during the past calendar year (January through December). The book should be one in which the scholarship or resources of the field is enhanced by its publication. Criteria may include, but are not limited to, logic and consistency of organization, thoroughness of topic coverage, writing style, philosophy and approach; and appropriateness for intended audience.

Distinguished Play Award
Honors the playwright(s) and the publisher(s) of the most outstanding plays for young people published during the past calendar year (January to December). The successful script should demonstrate superiority in execution, delineation of characters, theatricality, and appropriateness of style. Selected scripts should respect young people's understandings and abilities, providing them with perspectives on their own experiences while enhancing their imagination and emotional growth.
Starting in 1989, two categories were instituted: Category A--Plays primarily for upper and secondary school age audiences; Category B--Plays primarily for elementary and middle school age audiences. In 1998, a third category was added for Adaptations. In 2012, Adaptations split into two categories: Category C--Adaptations primarily for middle and secondary age audiences and Category D--Adaptations for Pre-K and elementary age audiences. The current categories are as follows:
  • A) Plays primarily for middle and secondary age audiences;
  • B) Plays primarily for Pre-K and elementary age audiences;
  • C) Adaptations from existing children's literature primarily for middle and secondary age audiences;
  • D) Adaptations from existing children's literature primarily for Pre-K and elementary age audiences.
Don and Elizabeth Doyle Fellowship
This award is named for the Doyles for a lifetime of creative work in Theatre for Youth. Administered by theDon and Elizabeth Doyle Fellowship Foundation, it is given to an outstanding graduate-level student of demonstrated artistic ability in the area of Theatre for Youth. In addition, the candidate should indicate a professional interest in pursuing career goals consistent with the legacy of the Doyles.
F. Loren Winship Secondary School Theatre Award
Honors an individual or organization for long-term outstanding contribution to the mission of secondary school theatre. Formerly known as the Director's Award and the Founders' Award, this was the first award authorized by the SSTA Governing Board and is given in honor of those pioneer educators in high school theatre who established the secondary school theatre movement in the United States.

John C. Barner Teacher of the Year Award
This award is given in honor of John C. Barner, a founder of the first professional organization for secondary school teachers of theatre. It honors an individual member of AATE currently teaching theatre arts on the secondary school level and who has developed an exemplary secondary school theatre arts program.

Lin Wright Special Recognition Award
Honors persons who have established special programs, developed experimental work, made a distinctive educational contribution or provided meritorious service thus furthering theatre and drama for young people. This award recognizes and supports these unique contributions of artists, educators and advocates wherever they are found. Formerly known as the AATE Special Recognition Citation(s), this award was renamed in honor of Lin Wright, Professor (1973+) and Chair (1983-1996) of the Theatre Department at Arizona State University, researcher and President of CTAA, 1981-83.

Monte Meacham Award
Honors persons or organizations outside AATE for outstanding contributions to theatre for youth. It is named in honor of Monte Meacham, founder and director of Children's World Theatre from the late 1940s until his death in an auto accident while on tour in 1955.

This award celebrates the full spectrum of artists in our field, including, but not limited to, directors, designers, actors, choreographers, composers, puppeteers and videographers. It honors  a particular artistic achievement or a unique artistic contribution to theatre for young audiences. It can be presented at any time in an artist’s career.

Sara Spencer Artistic Achievement Award
Formerly known as the Special Sara Spencer Award, this award honors artistic theatre practice of long duration and wide recognition. It may be granted to an established theatre for sustained and exceptional achievement or to an individual who has accomplished meritorious achievement in the field of theatre for young audiences. Named in honor of Sara Spencer, founder of Anchorage Press, President of CTC 1953-55 and one of the founders of the Children's Theatre Foundation.

Youth Theatre Director of the Year
This award honors an individual for outstanding achievement as a director in a youth theatre. The recipient serves as a model of excellence and innovation as an artistic, educational and/or management director in a theatre in which some, or all, of the performers are young people. This award was formerly known as the National Conference of Youth Theatre Directors Award.

Zeta Phi Eta-Winifred Ward Outstanding New Children's Theatre Company Award
This award honors a theatre company serving young audiences that has been in operation for at least two full years, but not more than five. The company must have attained a high level of artistic production and possess sound management practices while having stimulated community interest in its endeavors. Nominees must be organizational members of AATE.

Research Awards
These awards are given for outstanding research relating to the field of Drama/Theatre Education. Research methodologies may include naturalistic/ethnographic, descriptive/qualitative, empirical/quantitative, theoretical, historical, critical or other scholarly approaches. Until 1995, only one award was given, the Research Award. Thereafter, the Distinguished Dissertation/Thesis Award and the Honorary Research Award were added. In 1998, the latter award was renamed The Judith Kase-Cooper [nee Polisini] Honorary Research Award. Kase-Cooper was the founder and longtime head of AATE's International Center for Studies in Theatre Education. In 2001, the Distinguished Dissertation/Thesis Award was split into two separate award categories.

Winifred Ward Scholar
The scholarship is awarded annually by the Winifred Ward Memorial Fund, Inc. (WWMF), to a graduate-level scholar of demonstrated intellectual and artistic ability in child drama/theatre. Nominees are judged on the basis of scholarship, faculty recommendations, indication of strong professional interest and growth, successful performance in some aspect of children's theatre or creative drama work and other criteria. The scholar is selected by the Winifred Ward Scholarship Committee, appointed by the WWMF Board.

Distinguished Dissertation/Thesis Award
Honors research that focuses on questions pertinent to informal Drama in Education or to more formal Theatre produced for, by or with young people. In 2001 this award was separated into two: one for Dissertation and one for Thesis.

Judith Kase-Cooper Honorary Research Award
This award is given to honor distinguished scholars who have contributed significantly to the development of theory and research in the field of drama/Theatre & Education. Those nominated must be long-standing members of AATE. The focus is on cumulative work accomplished over a number of years rather than on one study.

Research Award
Until 1995 recognized exemplary theoretical, historical, critical, ethnographic, empirical, or other scholarly research in any area of drama/Theatre & Education for young people. It was open to any individual or collaborative team in any discipline engaged in drama/theatre research. See description for the Distinguished Dissertation/Thesis Award for current wording.

Awards No Longer Presented

Jennie Heiden Award

Established by Mel White in honor of Jennie Heiden, who promoted the best in children's theatre at Brooklyn College. This award was given for creative effectiveness and "excellence in professional children's theatre." It was presented by the American Theatre Association (ATA), either to an individual, group, or a theatre.

Phi Beta Fraternity Award
Presented to a distinguished foreign visitor to the annual convention, who enriched the lives of those involved in the professional theatre for youth organization by taking an active role in the convention by sharing his or her expertise.

Walter Peck Memorial Award
Established by Alvin Cohen in memory of Walter Peck, a high school theatre arts teacher who had worked faithfully for the establishment of SSTC. Peck was a member of the original Steering Committee and the first Governing Board of SSTC (later SSTA).
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