SETC honors theatre practitioners of all levels through a variety of prestigious awards. From celebrating young scholars to recognizing lifetime achievement in theatre, from monetary prizes to experience awards, from contests to nominations, SETC’s awards take many forms and serve to distinguish a diverse range of theatre artists.

Distinguished Career Award

The Distinguished Career Award is the highest award bestowed by SETC and is established to honor one individual or artistic team each year who has a distinguished career in the theatre. The recipient is requested to speak at the annual SETC Convention as a keynote address, and to accept the award during the Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony. Administration of this award is assigned to the Executive Committee. However, SETC members are invited to make suggestion to the Executive Committee and/or the SETC Central Office as names for consideration. Email [email protected] to submit your recommendation(s) for this award. 

Getchell New Play Award

The SETC New Play Contest is dedicated to the discovery, development and publicizing of worthy new plays and playwrights. The Charles M. Getchell Award offers $1,000 and a Staged Play Reading at the annual SETC Convention. The winner must be present. Submission Period: Between March 1 and June 1 annually.

Established by SETC in 2015, the Southeastern Theatre Conference Hall of Fame recognizes persons, living or deceased, who have made major contributions to the organization. These contributions may be administrative, artistic, and/or financial and have made a significant impact on SETC’s success over a sustained period of time. The Hall of Fame commemorates their achievements and celebrates their meaningful contributions to the organization. Submit Nominations Here before December 11, 2023 @ 5pm.

Innovative Playwriting Instruction Award

This award was established to honor one high school teacher each year for innovation in teaching playwriting. Nominate your favorite teacher (including yourself). The administration of this award is assigned to the Innovative Playwriting Instruction Award Committee. More information coming soon. Submission Period: Between March 1 and June 1 annually.

SETC’s latest award offering is through a partnership with NC Black Rep and the Black Theatre Network. The Mabel P. Robinson Emerging Artists Awards will present six scholarships to acting, directing, and design students (two in each discipline) to attend the upcoming National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), the upcoming SETC convention, and the upcoming Black Theatre Network Conference (BTN). Applications are accepted and screened by the NC Black Rep.  LEARN MORE>>

Design Competition Awards

Each year, graduate and undergraduate students display their design and technology work at the annual SETC Convention.

Entrants have a chance to have their work critiqued by distinguished career industry professionals- modern masters of design and technology with national and international reputations. The experts use an open, one-on-one critique format to offer invaluable learning for all in attendance — whether a student, professor or professional.

Winners in the competition receive monetary, product or experience awards (depending on the competition category and sponsor), a certificate of achievement, and recognition in SETC

It is strongly recommended that you review the OFFICIAL GUIDLINES before submitting your design. 


John Spiegel Theatrical Artist Award

The John Spiegel Theatrical Artist Award is presented annually to a student pursuing a degree or certificate in one of the following areas: lighting design, properties design, scenic design, sound design, or technical direction. 


Keynote Emerging Artists of Promise (KEAP) Awards

A grant presented annually to four high school students who show promise in theatre and would benefit from a grant to attend the SETC Convention. KEAP recipients are recognized for their dedication to theatre and academic excellence at keynote addresses, the Friday Lunch and Awards Banquet. LEARN MORE>>


Mark R. Sumner Award

Established in 1990, this award recognizes significant contributions by an individual to a specific outdoor drama, or to the outdoor drama movement as a whole, including but not limited to playwriting, directing, acting, design, theater architecture, patronage, scholarship, musical composition, technology and innovation, producing and administration. The award is presented annually at the National Conference on Outdoor Theatre in October.  

Ready to Design Award

Each year, SETC partners with renowned professional professional theatres to co-sponsor the Ready to Design (previously Ready to Work) Awards, which help talented young designers jumpstart their professional careers. Designers are chosen from all graduate-level entrants to the annual Design Competition at the annual SETC Convention.

Ready to Direct Competition Award

The Ready to Direct Competition offers early career directors (graduate students and adults only) who are seeking professional experience an opportunity to: learn from seasoned professionals during an immersive schedule at the annual SETC Convention; and possibly earn work at a professional theatre.

SETC is currently reviewing and improving its programming. As part of this process, we have temporarily suspended this award. We appreciate your understanding and will provide updates through email communications. Thank you for your support.

Ready to Publish Award

Playwrights submit unpublished, original scripts for the opportunity to “pitch” their play/musical to Stage Rights and the SETC Playwriting Committee. One winner earns publication in the Stage Rights catalog of plays and musicals in addition to other opportunities from Stage Rights and SETC.

SETC is currently reviewing and improving its programming. As part of this process, we have temporarily suspended this award. We appreciate your understanding and will provide updates through email communications. Thank you for your support.

Sara Spencer Child Drama Award

Recognizes an individual or organization for distinct achievement in such areas of child drama as: playwriting, performance, audience development, curriculum development, funding, scholarship, community programs, research, television programming, creative drama or other enrichment programs within the SETC Region. More information coming soon. Join the e-list on our HOME PAGE for updates!

Scott Parker Award

Presented to an exceptional volunteer in the field of outdoor theatre. This award includes a cash prize of five hundred dollars ($500) and recognizes an individual who has been nominated by an IOT member theatre for their extraordinary, dedicated and unpaid service to the organization over a significant period of time. The award is presented annually at the National Conference on Outdoor Theatre in October. 

Suzanne M. Davis Memorial Award

The Suzanne M. Davis Memorial Award was established to honor one SETC member each year for distinguished service to SETC over a number of years and is presented during the annual SETC Convention awards banquet. Administration of this award is assigned to the Nominations Committee, with the final choice made by vote of the Board of Directors.

Tom Behm Award

SETC’s Tom Behm Award provides professional development funds — whether to attend a conference or to assist with education credits — to people working in the field of Theatre for Youth. The recipient is also awarded a one-year membership to SETC and registration to the SETC Teachers Institute and annual SETC Convention for the award year.

Young Scholar’s Award

SETC’s History/Theory/Criticism/Literature Committee invites submissions from graduate students and undergraduate students relating to the committee’s interest areas of history, theory, criticism, and literature. One graduate and one undergraduate paper will be chosen to win a cash prize and to present their winning papers at the annual SETC Convention.