The Young Scholars Competition

In honor of a pioneering black theater scholar and in the interest of encouraging research and scholarship in Black Theatre, BTN has sponsored The S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholars Competition since 1988. The submitted papers are adjudicated by a panel of BTN's published scholars, and the award winning writers are invited to present their work at the annual conference. (Scroll down for details!)

The Judy Dearing Design Competition

The Black Theatre Network established this award in 1996 in honored of pioneering costume designer Judy Dearing to encourage African American students focused on elements of theatrical design. The awards are presented every other year with the other major awards. (Scroll even farther down for details!)

2018 CALL FOR entries

S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholars Competition

The Black Theatre Network is currently seeking papers from students at the Undergraduate and Graduate level that are concerned with an aspect of Black Theatre. Entrants do not need to be members of the Black Theatre Network to submit. 

In recognition of Black Theatre scholar and educator, S. Randolph Edmonds, The Black Theatre Network instituted the S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholars Competition in 1988. This competition seeks to encourage research and scholarship in Black Theatre. The competition supports the overall mission of BTN, to expose the beauty and complexity of the inherited theatre work of our African American ancestors, as well as, preserve and develop Black Theatre’s unique art form. 


• Papers must be typed, double-spaced, and in MLA format with a bibliography page. If applicable, also include endnotes that demonstrate awareness of formal methods of documentation.

• Papers should be between 10 - 20 pages in length. This does NOT include endnotes and bibliography pages (If a submission longer than 10 pages is selected as a winning entry, the author will need to condense the paper to a focused 10 pages for presentation purposes).

• Please include 1) cover letter stating the entrant’s name, university affiliation, class rank, current and permanent address (if not the same), telephone number, email address and a one paragraph biography, 2) a 250-word abstract, and 3) a headshot. The biography and headshot will be used to feature the winners on the BTN webpage. 

• There may only be ONE submission per student. Students should submit their own work; a professor cannot submit on the student’s behalf

• Students cannot send for the conference planner’s consideration a proposal that represents the same paper that they have entered (or will enter) into this contest.


•Winners will be announced by May 15th, 2018 and will be invited to deliver their papers at the 2018 Black Theatre Network Conference in Memphis Tennessee to be held July 28-30, 2018. 

• A first-place prize of $250.00 and second-place prize of $100.00 will be awarded in both Divisions I (Undergraduate) and II (Graduate) PLUS one night stay in the conference hotel for your attendance at the Young Scholars awards ceremony;

• Winners will participate in a special reception in their honor at the conference; 

• Winners will be announced on the BTN website; and 

• Winners will receive a free one-year membership in the Black Theatre Network and a complimentary conference registration should you choose to attend the entire conference. 


Papers must be received no later than May 1, 2018 & should be sent via e-mail to: 

La Tanya L. Rogers, Ph.D.

English Program Faculty, College of Arts and Sciences

University of the District of Columbia

4200 Connecticut Ave., NW 

Washington, DC 20008 (preferred)    



Judy Dearing Student Design Competition  

The design competition and subsequent awards are presented in memory of distinguished costume designer Judy Dearing.  The purpose of this competition is to encourage African American students of design and give them an opportunity to have their work exhibited at the National Conference of the Black Theatre Network.

A $200.00 First Place Award will be presented in each category (Scenic, Costume and Lighting) 

The competition is open to all African American Graduate and Undergraduate students enrolled in American colleges and Universities.


       1.     A photo of the entrant, which will become property of the Black Theatre Network, must accompany entries.  

       2.      Scene Designers are limited to one entry consisting of one rendering for a show that requires a single or unit set (minimum size 11” x 14” maximum size 18” x 24 “overall).  The face of the rendering should carry only the title of the show designed.  The design may be from an actual production or an unproduced class project.  

       3.      Costume Designers are limited to three matted renderings and a color chart supplied for all costumes within one play.  The renderings (minimum 11" x 14" maximum 18" x 24" overall) should have fabric swatches attached, the title of the show, character, act, and scene labeled on the face.  Non realized project will be given consideration. 

       4.    Lighting Designers are limited to one show, which should include a lighting plot ½” or ¼” scale with paper-work (maximum size 30" x 36").  Entries should include no more than three 8 x 10 prints from the show.  The design may be from an actual production or an unproduced project.  

       5.    Renderings may be done in any medium and must be matted for display.  

       6.      All designs must carry the designer’s name and return address on the back, along with a separate typed statement of the design concept.  Research may be included which is bound in a notebook

       7.     Entries must be securely wrapped in such a way that they can be returned in their original wrappings.  The Black Theatre Network accepts no responsibility for damage to any entry, regardless of cause.  Consult the U. S.  Postal Service for special arrangements on mailing matted paintings.  

       8.     A respondent’s critique of each design will be supplied for each entry. These critiques and design entries will be mailed to each entrant within ninety days after the conference.  

       9.    Entrants should include return postage.  If not, entries will be returned COD.  Entrants must provide permanent or mailing  address.  

      10.   Entries must be postmarked by 03/01/18.  Winner will be notified by 4/15/18. 

Students are encouraged to consult professors for assistance. 

Winners will be announced in conjunction with the S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholars Competition held at the annual Black Theatre Network Conference.  Winners need not be present to win.


Entries should be addressed to: or

Professor Harrington, BTN Design Competition


5500 University Pkwy

San Bernardino, CA 92405