McNerney Playwriting Contest

The Todd McNerney Playwriting Contest

In 2006 an anonymous donor created the Todd McNerney Playwriting Award to honor faculty member and former Chair Todd McNerney and to recognize the excellence of College of Charleston student playwrights. The initial award was created to be awarded to a student-written 10-minute play and continues to this day. In 2009, the same generous donor provided additional resources to create a second award which focuses on full-length plays and is open to playwrights from across the nation. The donor and the award support the development of new plays and raise awareness of the College and its Theatre and Dance Department's commitment to new work.

Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Annual Todd McNerney Playwriting Contest Results

Congratulations to all of our finalists and winners! 

The COVID-19 pandemic not only caused the cancellations of the 2020 and 2021 Spoleto Festival USA and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and greatly contracted the scale of the 2022 festivals, it also greatly impacted our selection panel and its ability to select and announce the winners of the 2021 and 2022 contests. We are pleased to announce that the ending of the COVID-19 public health emergency and the return to a more normal calendar means a return to the presentation of staged readings at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival!

The runners-up and winning plays of the 2021, 2022, and 2023 contests will be presented during the 2023 Piccolo Spoleto Festival as part of the Department of Theatre and Dance's Stelle di Domani series.  


2021 Finalists

Asylum by Robert Fieldsteel

Carl a.k.a Karl by D.T. Arcieri

High Falls by Stephanie Everett

Oil and Watercolor by Seanan Palermo Waugh

Painted Brick/White Houses by Anderson John Heinz

The Scrambling Class by Amy Tofte

Shylock the First by Andre R Heinze

There’s Always Tomorrow by Sonya Harden

Touch the Moon by Arianna Rose

(verb) a play on words by Seth Freeman


Oil and Watercolor by Seanan Palermo Waugh


(verb) a play on words by Seth Freeman


2022 Finalists

The Arlo File by Amy Crider

The Blue Whale by Laura Zlatos

The Children of Good People by Spencer Huffman

Fat Muslim Girls by Ken Kaissar

F1rst D1g1ts by Michael D. Fox

Hope by Joe Atkinson

Petrified by Paula Fell

Seeing Violet by Peter Snoad

Sinkhole by Alison Minami

You’re a Weirdo, Annie Best or A Kiss to Build a Dream On by Erin Shea Brady


Fat Muslim Girls by Ken Kaissar


The Blue Whale by Laura Zlatos


2023 Finalists

Closet Space by Jane M. Lee

The Consequences of Madison Mumbry by Darren V. Michael

El Nido by Raul Garza

Floating Naked with Piranhas (How I Learned to Love Working at Amazon) by Rich Rubin

Gendered Language by Bethany Dickens Assaf

Going Wild by Peter Snoad

Leannán Sidhe by Deanna Strasse

The Rimsky-Fogelman by Andrew R. Heinze

Sic Amo Sic Amas by J.S. Cassidy

Slowly and Then All at Once by Katherine Vondy

The Consequences of Madison Mumbry by Darren V. Michael


Closet Space by Jane M. Lee

Fifteenth Annual National Playwriting Contest  


$400.00 cash prize

Staged reading at the 2024 Piccolo Spoleto Festival

Travel allowance to attend the reading



$100.00 cash prize

Staged reading at the 2024 Piccolo Spoleto Festival


Submission Requirements:

--SASE Business envelope for notification of results

--Material must be unpublished and unproduced (including amateur productions).

--Full length, no musicals

--$10 entry fee, payable to College of Charleston

--Open for submission January 3rd, 2024

--Submissions must be postmarked by February 19th, 2024 

--Hard copy mailed to:     

                      Todd McNerney National Playwriting Contest                   

                      College of Charleston 

                      Department of Theatre and Dance

                      66 George Street

                      Charleston, SC  29424

--Please provide an unbound copy of your submission.

--Playwrights may submit multiple entries. Please submit one entry fee and SASE envelope per submission and mail entries separately.

All items must be received to be eligible for consideration.


Miles Boinest


(843) 953-6306


McNerney Playwriting Award Winners

2020 (11th Annual Contest)

Winner -- Righteous Among Us by Amy Tofte

Runner-Up --Goodnight Embryos by Maureen McGranaghan

Finalists --A Story About a Girl by Jacquelyn Reingold

                Dead Air by Greg Jones Ellis

                Firewater by Samantha Marchant

                Good Neighbors by Jane M. Lee

                Of Men and Cars by Jim Geoghan

                Only Human by Christine DiGiovanni

                Shakespeare's Start by Rich Rubin

                The Tiger Play by Anne Phelan


2019 (10th Annual Contest)

Winner -- The Dying Declaration of Madge Oberholzter by Raegan Payne

Runner-Up -- The Poles of Inaccessibility by Craig Pospisil

Finalists -- Dead Behind the Eyes (or The Ingenue Play) by Becca Anderson

                Dinosaur(s)by James Still

                The Dying Declaration of Madge Oberholzter by Raegan Payne

                Indoctrination by Harold Ellis Clark

                Intellectual Property by Richard Lyons Conlon

                Queer Theory by Lacey Alexander

                Parts & Pieces by Amy Tofte

                The Poles of Inaccessibility by Craig Pospisil

                The Savage Queen by Edgar Chisholm

                When They Came by MT Cozzola

2018 (9th Annual Contest)

Winner -- The Lady Demands Satisfaction by Arthur M. Jolly

Runner-Up -- Rev by Rachel Bykowski

Finalists -- The End Will Hurt by Laura Neill

                 Exposure by Pauline David-Sax

                 Frank by Joanna Castle Miller

                 Frankie and Johnny (The Play) by Keenya Jackson

                 Fuel by Caridad Svich

                 The Gray List by Allen Provost

                 The Hero and the Scholar by Marshall Botvinick

                 The Lady Demands Satisfactuon by Arthur M. Jolly

                 (A) New World by James Still

                 Rev by Rachel Bykowski

2017 (8th Annual Contest)

Winner – Treehouse by Joe Musso

Runner-Up – Flying by Sheila Cowley

Finalists – The Evolution of Darwin by Steve Warren

                 Family Pains by Erin Osgood

                 Flying by Sheila Cowley

                 The Letters by David Zellnik

                 Radar Range by Maura Campbell

                 The Plastic City by Matthew Kelly

                 Pooka by James McLindon

                 Signature Photo by Michael Bucklin

                 Sycorax: Cyber Queen of Qamara by Fengar Gael

                 Treehouse by Joe Musso

2016 (7th Annual Contest)

Winner – Swimming Upstream by Rich Rubin

Runner-UpLike a Billion Likes by Erik Forrest Jackson

Finalists - All Things Evolve by Carl L. Williams

                 Black Super Hero Magic Mama by Inda Craig-Galvan

                 Chore Monkeys by Patrick Gabridge

                 Greenville Tomorrow by Chris Widney

                 Infinite Beginnings by David Vazdauskas

                 Queens for a Year by T.D. Mitchell

                 Like a Billion Likes by Erik Forrest Jackson

                 Radical Two by Carlos Jerome

                 The Snowmaker by Aleks Merilo

                 Swimming Upstream by Rich Rubin


2015 (6th Annual Contest)

Winner – Last Night and the Night Before (formerly Sam) by Donnetta Lavinia Grays

Runner-UpMiranda by James Still


2014 (5th Annual Contest)

Winner – Safe by Donna Hoke

Runner-UpVeils by Tom Coash


2013 (4th Annual Contest)

Winner – Spark by Carídad Svich

Runner-UpMad Gravity by William Missouri Downs


2012 (3rd Annual Contest)

Winner – The House That Jack Built by James Still

Runner-UpFortune’s Child by Mark Scharf


2011 (2nd Annual Contest)

Winner – Life Is Mostly Straws by Richard Manley

Runner-UpDead and Buried by James McLindon


2010 (Inaugural Contest)

Winner - Advanced Women by Michèle Aldin Kushner

Runner-UpThe Willow Grove by Walter Thinnes

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