Queen's University







The 2021 Competition will open in November 2020. Check back in September for updated information on submitting your play to the Voaden Prize!

The DAN School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University in partnership with Kingston WritersFest is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition.



First Place, $15,000 – Damian Tarnopolsky 


The Defence


Runner Up, $7,000 – Marc-André Blanchard


 The Brothers Gentle


Honourable Mentions:
The Right by Alison Lawrence
Wine and Little Breads by Armin Wiebe


This biennial, nation-wide, open competition, named to honour the Canadian pioneer playwright Herman Voaden is judged blind, meaning the judges select the Winners and Honourable Mentions without knowing the identity of the playwrights. 


The First Prize-winning playwright will receive a professional three-day workshop of the script in September 2019 at Queen's University. In addition, this year the DAN School of Drama and Music has partnered with Kingston WritersFest to offer a public staged reading of the winning play, followed by a talk-back session, as part of the programming of the 2019 Kingston WritersFest. The playwright will also teach a Writers Retreat Master Class at the festival. 


First Prize Winner Damian Tarnopolsky is the author of Goya’s Dog and Lanzmann and Other Stories. His fiction has been nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Amazon.ca First Novel Award, Journey Prize, and the CBC Literary Award, among others, and his essays and reviews have appeared in The WalrusThe Globe and MailThe Toronto Review of BooksReader’s Digest, Atlantic Books Today, and elsewhere. He works as an editor at Slingsby and Dixon in Toronto and teaches writing to healthcare practitioners with the Centre for Faculty Development at St. Michael’s Hospital and at Massey College, where he was the Barbara Moon Fellow from 2016 to 2019. 


Second Prize Winner Marc Blanchard is an emerging actor, writer, and arts teacher from London, Ontario. Based in Toronto, he holds a BFA with honours from the Ryerson Theatre School. As an actor, Marc originated the role of Henri in the English Language premiere of Liv Stein with Canadian Stage. As a writer, he wrote and conceived the full-length piece Giving Up the Ghost as part of the 2016 Ryerson New Voices Festival, curated by Sheldon Rosen. His play Worm won first prize in the Ottawa Little Theatre 2018 National Playwriting Competition. In addition to acting and writing, Marc often co-produces work with fellow creator and Ryerson alumni Scott Kuipers under the name Sock Monkey.


The judges for this year’s competition were Rona Waddington, Jennifer Wise, Nick Hanson, Charlotte Gowdy, Daniel David Moses.


The judges for the final round were Marjorie Chan and Richard Willis.


To find out more about the Voaden Prize, its sponsorship partners, and how you can attend the staged reading of The Defence, visit the DAN School of Drama and Music website at www.sdm.queensu.ca and Kingston WritersFest at www.kingstonwritersfest.ca.


    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.

    Questions? Contact Amie Bello


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