URTA | Awards


URTA Candidate Awards provide free registration for the URTA Auditions and Interviews, including free admission to continuing education sessions and other programming. The Candidate Award is currently offered in several ways:


Recognizing the important growth in the field of sound design and the goal of introducing graduate study to students with backgrounds outside traditional theater, URTA offers a Candidate Award to all candidates in Sound Design.


URTA is committed to increasing diversity among leadership in the American theater. To support those seeking training in areas including arts administration, theatre management, producing and arts entrepreneurship, URTA offers a Candidate Award to all candidates in Arts Leadership.


For 50 years, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. KC-ACTF is a natural partner with URTA and to underscore our overlapping missions, URTA provides Candidate Awards to the following qualified KC-ACTF participants:

• National Finalists for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship
• SDC Directing Initiative fellows
• Finalists for the National Award for Design Excellence (Scenic, Costume, Lighting, Sound)
• KCACTF National Stage Management Fellows

URTA also supports the Kingsley Colton Award for Outstanding Partner with a $500 scholarship. The recipient is selected each year at the KCACTF national festival in Washington, D.C.

More information on the KCACTF Candidate Awards and eligibility can be found here.


Each year, candidates for the URTA Auditions and Interviews may opt to donate as little as $1 to the Pay-it-Forward fund, which supports awards to candidates based on personal hardship and other considerations. Donations to the Pay-It-Forward fund will be matched by Acceptd.

Candidates interested in applying to receive a Pay-It-Forward award for the current URTA application cycle should review the application requirements and apply below. A limited number of awards are open to eligible candidates who demonstrate need for a registration fee waiver. Candidates should first fully complete their URTA application up to the point of payment, then stop and save. They should then complete the award application below, in which they will submit a short personal essay outlining their need for the support, and why they are seeking a graduate degree at this time, as well as provide a letter of recommendation from a colleague, mentor, employer, or teacher, speaking to the candidate’s need and deservedness of the award.

Completed award applications and accompanying materials should be received via the online submission form by October 26, 2020. Award recipients will be notified by URTA on November 2, 2020, at which point they will have 3 days to redeem their award and submit their URTA application on Acceptd. Those that do not complete their registration in this time will forfeit their award, which will be awarded to an alternate recipient. Applications received after the deadlines above will be considered on a rolling basis as funding permits. For best consideration, candidates should apply by October 26.


The URTA Excellence Awards in Undergraduate Training were established to recognize undergraduate instructors, coaches, mentors and their respective institutions for excellence in the training and preparation of undergraduate theatre artists, URTA recognizes one coach/mentor in each discipline annually, as well as two institutions – one in acting and one in design and technology. Recipients are selected by teams of adjudicators, based on a review of candidates’ materials and preparedness at the URTAs. The two institutions each receive a Candidate Award for a student attending the following year’s URTA Auditions and Interviews.


URTA recently announced the formation of the Scott L. Steele Legacy Fund. Named for our long-serving executive director, the fund will provide a monetary award to a small number of MFA graduates from URTA member universities each year, to support these promising artists in their transition from training into the professional field. More information about the application and selection process will be available soon.