Yale Drama Series

The Yale Drama Series is an annual international competition for emerging playwrights. The winner receives the David Charles Horn prize of $10,000, publication of their manuscript by Yale University Press and a professional staged reading. Ayad Akhtar is the judge for the 2018-2019 competitions.

What Makes Us Unique

•  Award Winning Judges read and select the winners.

"The plays are extraordinary. It's sort of the World Series of plays."
-- Marsha Norman

"It's not terribly frequent that you find playwrights being asked to judge playwriting contests ... we know too much."
-- Edward Albee

"Our obligation is to help the next generation so we make sure there will be a theatre."
-- John Guare

Edward Albee
Photo credit: Harvey Wang
Sir David Hare
Photo credit: Harvey Wang
John Guare
Photo credit: Harvey Wang
Marsha Norman
Photo credit: Susan Johann

Nicholas Wright
Photo credit: Harvey Wang
Ayad Akhtar
Photo credit: Florian Thoss

•  The winning play is published by Yale University Press, ensuring its preservation for future generations.

" Plays close.  Books don't."
-- Edward Albee

"Why a play should be published in the elegant form that is published by Yale University Press…it makes a play unavoidable…Someone will find that play. "
-- John Guare

"It's very important to have plays published as books. The printed copy reaches people who haven't seen the play ... will never see the play."
-- Nicholas Wright

John Donatich (photo: Mike Marsland)
Director of Yale University Press

"Why the Yale Drama Prize? It's simply a good idea. Ask the best to help find new talent -- and then help that talent do their best. "
-- John Donatich

•  Winners receive a professional reading of their work

From its origin in 2007 until 2011, the YDS readings were held at the Yale Repertory Theater in New Haven. It is a theater with a rich history, and a drama school that has nurtured leading playwrights and renowned actors.

The 2012-2016 receptions and staged readings were held at Lincoln Center Theater's Claire Tow Theater. It is a magnificent place to honor an emerging playwright as it is dedicated to just that.

Rufus Norris, the Director of London's National Theatre, hosted the 11th annual Yale Drama Series event in 2017: our first in the UK. We look forward to returning to London in the future, confirming our international commitment.

In 2018 we returned home to the Claire Tow Theater, where the 2019 ceremony and reading will be held.

•  Submissions are truly open. No vetting or prescreening.

"What is wonderful is no C.V. is attached ... Names are unknown to us ...We simply read the play."
-- David Hare

"It's a play that can just come over the transom and be read and be acknowledged ... wow."
-- John Guare

"It's ... the most democratic competition around. Anybody can enter it."
-- Nicholas Wright

Emerging is the defining word.

"The Horn Foundation is dedicated to honoring emerging playwrights that are looking to have their voice heard and that regenerates the theatre."
-- Francine Horn

"It's never been as exciting for me as when I didn't know what one of my plays sounded and looked like. So the bit when you actually are discovering what your artistic voice is is incredibly exciting. So helping people ... confirming them ... you are saying you are onto something here and it is a valuable voice, that is exciting."
--David Hare

•  Over 15,400 submissions have been received and read since the competition began in 2007. They have come from 103 countries.

"It's from all over the English speaking world. Everywhere….The more we can encourage people to submit from all over, the better."
-- David Hare