Call for Submissions - The Marvin Carlson Award for Best Student Essay in Theatre or Performance

The Department of Performing and Media Arts hosts a yearly contest for The Marvin Carlson Award for Best Student Essay in Theatre or Performance. This award honors CUNY Professor Marvin Carlson (CU PhD '61). 

Marvin Carlson is Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre, Comparative Literature, and Middle Eastern Studies at the Graduate Centre, CUNY. He earned a PhD in Drama and Theatre from Cornell University (1961), where he also taught for a number of years. Marvin has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens, Greece, the ATHE Career Achievement Award, the ASTR Distinguished Scholarship Award, the Bernard Hewitt prize, the George Jean Nathan Award, the Calloway Prize, the George Freedley Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is the founding editor of the journal Western European Stages and the author of over two hundred scholarly articles and fifteen books that have been translated into fourteen languages. His most recent books are Ten Thousand Nights: Highlights from 50 Years of Theatre-Going (2017) and Hamlet's Shattered Mirror: Theatre and the Real (2016). 

The award consists of a cash prize ($250) and certificate and is given to the best essay in theatre and performance by a Cornell student (graduate or undergraduate). 

Submission Guidelines:

  • Essays must be unpublished.

  • Essays should not exceed 25 pages.

  • Students may submit only one entry per year.

  • Only the title page should contain the student’s name and contact email, as this is a blind submission. A PMA administrator will collect submissions via email and redact students' identifying information before forwarding to the selection committee.

  • Submissions are due by 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday, March 1, 2024, to Late entries will not be accepted.

For more information, email Associate Professor J. Ellen Gainor at

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