The Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition is a one-of-a-kind national competition that transitions student playwrights to the world of professional theatre.
Each year, final-year candidates in the country's leading graduate playwriting programs are invited to submit a play to the Alliance Theatre. An in-house panel of readers evaluates the scripts and selects a slate of finalists to advance to the final round. Those scripts are then sent to a national panel for judging. In conjunction with Alliance Theatre Artistic Director Susan V. Booth, the judges select the Alliance/Kendeda winner. The Alliance Theatre produces the winning play on the 200-seat Hertz Stage as part of the following season. Readings of the plays are produced in New York (in 2012, in partnership with the Lark Play Development Center) and Atlanta and other venues around the country. These out-of-town partnerships include a relationship with Fox Theatricals (since 2006) and with the Kennedy Center and NNPN (since 2010). All of the playwrights establish an ongoing relationship with the Alliance Theatre and the city of Atlanta. Each winner is also offered the option to have their play published and licensed by Samuel French.
The program is led by Celise Kalke, chosen by American Theatre to be one of 25 American Theatre leaders of the future.