Queen's University
The Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University is proud to announce the winners of the 2017 Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition:


First Prize, $3,000: Michael Kras for “The Team”

Second Prize, $2,000: Brian Drader for “Happy”


Honourable Mentions:


  • “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


First Prize Winner Michael Kras

Michael Kras is a Hamilton-based playwright, whose works include #dirtygirl (winner of the Hamilton Fringe Audience Choice Award), and The Team, which was developed at Theatre Aquarius and was a national finalist for the Safe Words New Canadian Play Award. Michael is a graduate of Humber Theatre School, and a member of the Theatre Aquarius Playwrights Unit.

Second Prize Winner Brian Drader

Brian Drader is an actor, writer, dramaturg and artistic administrator. He has acted in over 70 professional theatre productions across Canada, as well as numerous films, television projects and radio dramas. His plays have been produced in Canada, the United States and Europe. Awards for his writing include the Herman Voaden National Playwriting Award (1997, for The Norbals), the Philadelphia Brick Playhouse New Play Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Drama (USA), as well as nominations for the Governor General’s award and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year. Published work includes THE NORBALS, PROK and LIAR (Scirocco Drama), and CURTSY and TO BE FRANK (Signature Editions). A short film, IRIS AND NATHAN, won the National Screen Institute Drama Prize. Commercial engagements include writing the audio components for Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology (with Jodi Essery) and video components for Star Wars Identities, both touring museum exhibitions (gsmprjcts/Lucas Films/National Geographic), dramaturg for Cirque du Soleil’s MJ ONE at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and dramaturgical support for the 2017 revamp of The Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa. Brian was the Director of Playwriting at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal from 2004 to 2017, and will be the Executive Director for the Manitoba Association of Playwrights as of August 14, 2017.


This biennial nation-wide open competition, named to honor the Canadian pioneer playwright Herman Voaden, is judged “blind”. The judges select the Winners and Honorable Mentions without knowing the names of the playwrights.

Herman Voaden (1903-1991), Canadian playwright, director and theatrical innovator, was a lifelong champion of Canadian culture.
"It gives some satisfaction to know that the crusade I have helped to lead has made it possible for the dreamers and innovators of today’s theatre to follow their dreams and continue their innovations.”

The competition is made possible by a generous bequest from Mr. Voaden’s estate. The award is dedicated to his memory and honors his goals to develop a distinctively Canadian art of the theatre and to encourage the writing of Canadian drama.
Submissions accepted for 2019 competition starting in mid-November 2018

Questions? Contact Amie Bello


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First Prize - Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman for Scratch


First Prize - Florence Gibson MacDonald for Missing


First Prize - Jason Hall for Eyes Catch Fire


First Prize - Michael Lewis Maclennan for The Last Romantics


First Prize - Greg Nelson for North


First Prize - Brian Drader for The Norbals