The Voaden Prize

The Voaden Prize is a national playwriting competition. It was established in 1993 and held its first competition in 1997. The Voaden Prize is offered biennially. The current competition is closed for entry. Prize winners will be announced in June 2023.


First Prize: $10,000 along with a 3-day workshop of the winning script, culminating in a staged reading of the play followed by a talk-back session at the Kingston WritersFest.

Second Prize: $5,000

Honourable Mentions: Written critiques by the final round adjudicators.

Voaden Prize Logo

Who was Herman Voaden?

Herman Voaden (1903-1991) graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1923, followed by a Master of Arts in 1926. He was a Canadian playwright, director, and theatrical innovator and was a lifelong champion of Canadian culture. Herman Voaden was one of the most significant playwrights in Canada prior to the Second World War. Voaden championed a multimedia form of theatre that he called “Symphonic Expression” that integrated artistic lighting effects, “sprach-stimmung,” music, dance, and unusual sets. He was the head of the Canadian Arts Council (1945-1948), The Canadian Conference of the Arts (1966-1968), and the Canadian Guild of Crafts (1968-1970). He received the Order of Canada in 1974.

Herman Voaden, 1987 Credit Ken Faught, Toronto Star

Entry Guidelines

  • Open to any Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Only one play per playwright.
  • Only full-length plays in English will be accepted. Legal clearance of all adapted material not in the public domain is the responsibility of the playwright. For the purposes of this competition, “full-length” is defined as a play with an estimated run time of one hour or longer.
  • Plays cannot have been previously produced, published, contracted, or commissioned by a professional theatre.
  • The First Prize-winning playwright will be given a professional three-day workshop of their winning script in September 2023 at Queen’s University and a public staged reading of the play, followed by a talk-back session at Kingston WritersFest. In addition, the winning playwright will be invited to attend, and may be asked to appear as a guest, in some classes offered by the DAN School of Drama and Music. The workshop will also be open to attendance by students of the DAN School of Drama and Music. By entering the competition, the playwright agrees to this provision.
  • The First and Second Prize-winning plays may be distributed to some classes at the DAN School of Drama and Music in the 2023 Fall term to supplement the curriculum. By entering the competition, the playwright agrees to this provision.

Submission Procedure

  1. Submissions will be accepted from November 15, 2022 to January 15, 2023. 
  2. Prior to submitting your script for consideration, please pay the entry fee of $50 CAN by Visa or MasterCard through the secure payment system (ePly).
  3. Once the entry fee payment is confirmed through ePly, please submit one PDF copy of the play being entered. Scripts will only be accepted through email. Send entries to Amie Bello at and include contact information and the ePly confirmation number from the entry fee paid.
  4. The playwright’s name must not appear anywhere in the text of the entry, only on the Entry Form. The preferred font is Times or Courier in 12-point size. The pages of the document should be numbered in the header or footer. The PDF should be saved with only the title as the file name (e.g., AMidsummerNightsDream.pdf).
  5. We are no longer accepting musicals but plays that include incidental music are welcome. Entries involving music should be accompanied by an MP3 file of the recorded music and lyrics. Sheet music will also be accepted, but please ensure that all references to the composer, lyricist, and/or playwright are excluded from the submission.
  6. Entries are handled with care and confidentiality, but the DAN School of Drama and Music cannot assume responsibility for lost or damaged files. Receipt of entry will be confirmed by a reply email.


Depending upon the number of entries received, there are either two or three rounds of adjudication with a distinct group of adjudicators for each round. All plays are read blind (i.e., without knowledge of the author).

Entries are now closed for submission.


The names of the First and Second Prize-winning playwrights and the titles of their plays, as well as the names and titles of the entrants receiving Honourable Mentions, will be announced in June 2023.

Past Winners

Year First Prize Winners Second Prize Winners Honourable Mentions
2021 Jennifer Walton for Gunplay (After the Gun Goes Off)
Zahida Rahemtulla for The Frontliners
Alex and Michael and Hannah by Heather Morrow
Rukmini’s Gold by Radha Sciara-Meno
Animal by Romeo Ciolfi
History of Visual Sources by Laura Mullin
enola gay by Alexander Zonjic
Forever Young, or the Story of the Crowded Room
 by Darrah Teitel
2019 Damian Tarnopolsky for The Defence Marc-André Blanchard for The Brothers Gentle The Right by Alison Lawrence Wine
Little Breads by Armin Wiebe
2017 Michael Kras for The Team Brian Drader for Happy Cleave by Elena Belyea
Satellite(s) by Aaron Bushkowsky
Everything I Couldn’t Tell You by Jeff D’Hondt
Cam Baby by Jessica Moss
Root of the Root by Tim Ginley
These Moments of Shine: A Dokumentary by Camille Pavlenko
This Above All by Diane Vanden Hoven
A Room Facing South by Gordon Portman
2015 Norman Yeung for Theory Len Falkenstein for Lac/Athabasca The Bone Bridge by Trina Davies
Western by Matthew Gorman
Warf by Ryan Griffith
Schoolgirl by Nicola Harwood
Last Chance Leduc by Katherine Koller
The Lesson by Julie Miller
Salvador by Rafael Renderos
The Murmuration of Starlings by Evan Tsitsias
2013 Jordan Tannahill for Late Company Jessica Moss for Next to Him My Purple Wig by Jessica Anderson
Michael Rising by Damien Atkins
Memorial by Paul Dunn
Disappeared by Leah Jane Esau
The Philosopher’s Wife by Susanna Fournier
Buffalo Girls by Nicola Harwood
Ganga’s Ganja by Radha S. Menon
It’s Time by Robert Tsonos
2011 David Brock for WET David Egan for Yuri Gagarin Dreams of God Masquerade by Douglas Beattie
The Maple Leaves by Heather Debling
Haunted by Daniel Karasik
Shannon by Alison Lawrence
Ha by Lindsay Price
The Burning Blood by Scott Sharplin
Tyumen, Then by Adam Underwood
The Moons of Jupiter by Jennifer Wise
2009 David Egan for Tom’s a Cold Donna-Michelle St. Bernard for Gas Girls Kim’s Convenience by Ins Choi
Map of the West by Dave Deveau
Love Handles by Florence Gibson
Pu-erh by Norman Lup-Man Yeung
Sia by Matthew Wishart Mackenzie
Friendly Fire by Kathleen Cleland Moyer
If We Were Birds by Erin Shields
2007 Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman for Scratch Kevin Loring for Where the Blood Mixes Nomentacke by Mark Blagrave
The Mollycoddlers (A Pirate Tale) by John Corrigan
12 Weeks by Jason Hall
The Transplant by Nicholas Hanson
Nights Below Station Street by Caleb Marshall
Burning In by Natalie Meisner
Essay by Hannah Moscovitch
The Twisted Land by Diane Vanden Hoven
2005 Florence Gibson MacDonald for Missing Emma C. Roberts for Excellence, Ontario Closure by Ron Blicq
The Knowing Bird by Ron Chambers
City of Love by Alexander Ferguson
Babka for Two by Pamela Main
The Dahl Sisters by Sara O’Leary
The Leaving Song by Michael Reinhart
Wreckage by Sally Stubbs
The Hum by Robert Tsonos
2003 Jason Hall for Eyes Catch Fire Laurie Fyffe for The Malaysia Hotel Diotema by Sharon Cavanagh
A Quiet Place by Brendan Gall
Tempest Moon by Theo Caldwell
My One and Only by Ken Cameron
Lionel by Pan Bouyoucas
Rum and Cola by Judith Rudakoff
China 1938 by Diane Forrest
The Kitsch Woman by Jane Gilchrist
2001 Michael Lewis MacLennan for The Last Romantics Kent Stetson for New Arcadia Third Prize
Sharon Cavanagh for Mr. Outplacement
1999 Greg Nelson for North Robert Fothergill for Borderline Third Prize
Michael Lewis MacLennan for The Shooting Stage
Honourable Mentions
Einstein’s Gift by Vern Thiessen
Last Land by Patti Flather
Early Man by Clem Martini
New Arcadia by Kent Stetson
The Invisibility of Eileen by Kit Brennan
Passion by Laurie Fyffe
The Molecular Structure of Desire by K. Jonathan Greene
1999 Brian Drader for The Norbals Richard Sanger for Two Words for Snow Third Prize
Hiro Kanagawa for Slants