Student Jane Chambers Playwriting Contest

The Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award recognizes plays and performance texts created by cis/trans/female-identifying women that present a feminist perspective and contain significant opportunities for female performers. This competition is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. The Jane Chambers Award for emergent playwrights encourages diversity of style and content. All forms of drama are accepted, including solo performance work.  


The winning play will receive a staged reading at the annual Women and Theatre Program pre-conference, which will be held in August prior to the Theatre in Higher Education Conference (ATHE). The student winner will receive a $250 cash prize and a year's membership in Women and Theatre.

The 2020 contest is now open!

The deadline for submitting is March 1, 2020. If you have questions, please 


The application is available for download here

2019 Winner

The Women and Theatre Program is pleased to recognize Aja Nisenson's play Why is This Night Different? as the winner of the 2019 Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award. 

In Why is This Night Different?, it is the first night of Passover, and Haley is introducing her parents to her boyfriend, who is not only 20 years older, but also $150,000 in debt. Things get even more complicated when Mom reveals a secret that shakes the established order, and forces the family to confront the past and move forward into the future. A bold and irreverent comedy about a mother’s coming-of-age at 65.

Aja Nisenson is a playwright and performer originating from New Jersey. Her plays include: Slap (Take Ten, National MFA Playwrights Festival), Park Slope Under Water ( Iowa New Play Festival), The Wait (Iowa New Play Festival), Piccola Cosi (FringeNYC, soloNOVA Arts Festival, Triad Theatre), Daja Vu, A French Cabaret Gone Awry, (Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Conference, FringeNYC, Flute Bar Gramercy) My Life  is a Woody Allen Film (United Solo Theatre Festival, EstroGenius Festival), Five Years Later (Salem Theatre). She is a MacDowell fellow and has held fellowships at the Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Conference and The Marble House Project. Aja received her BA from Brown University and is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Women & Theatre Program

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