National Latine Playwrights Award

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National Latine Playwrights Award

Established in 1995, the Arizona Theatre Company’s National Latine Playwrights Award (NLPA) is unique in its longevity and prescience. Under the leadership of ATC Playwright-in-Residence Elaine Romero, the award continues to create a greater awareness of under-represented Latine writers’ stories. It has honored many outstanding works by Latine playwrights who have achieved remarkable success throughout the country. Now after over 25 years, we are happy to announce that in addition to the cash prize, the winner will receive a public reading.

Submissions for the National Latine Playwrights Award are closed at this time. 

Latine playwrights residing in the United States, its territories or Mexico are encouraged to submit scripts for the award. Each script will be read and evaluated by a culturally diverse panel of theatre artists; finalists will be judged by ATC artistic staff.

  • The award is open to all Latine playwrights currently residing in the United States, its territories, or Mexico.
  • Scripts may be in English, Spanish, or a combination of the two (Spanish scripts must be accompanied by an English translation).
  • Plays must be unpublished, professionally unproduced, and not currently under option at the time of submission.
  • Full-length and one-act plays, with a minimum length of 50 pages, on any subject will be accepted.

The physical scripts become the property of Arizona Theatre Company and will not be returned. In this case, “property” means the physical property of the theatre, not the intellectual property or any rights to the play.

Application requirements include:
  • Submissions of a single script can be sent via email to
  • Include a cover letter of no more than one page describing the play’s developmental history and how the play fits into the playwright’s broader career trajectory.

For more information contact Elaine Romero, ATC Playwright-in Residence.

Previous recipients include Kristoffer Diaz (Pulitzer Prize Finalist), Marisela Treviño Orta (Pen Center USA Literary Award recipient), Caridad Svich (2012 Obie Award winner), Carlos Murillo (National Playwright Residency Program Mellon Foundation), Octavio Solis (NEA Fellowship), Karen Zacarías (Helen Hayes Award recipient) and Luis Alfaro (MacArthur Fellowship or “genius” grant recipient). Of the past 26 recipients, only two have not yet gone on to productions across the United States and around the world. ATC’s long history of recognizing Latine voices is echoed in its embrace of new work that does not neatly comport to genre, form, or subject.   

Notable recent winners include, Charise Castro Smith, co-writer of Disney hit “Encanto” (Golden Globe, Winner, Best Motion Picture, Animated) which was also the only animated title nominated in the Globes music categories, Benjamin Benne for “Alma,” a world premiere in production at the Center Theatre Group, and Eliana Pipes for “Dream Hou$e,” which also won the Leah Ryan’s FEWW playwriting prize in 2019 and the KCACTF The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Award in 2020.

Erlina Ortiz Wins ATC’s 2022 National Latine Playwrights Award

Arizona Theatre Company is excited to announce that Dominican-American playwright, performer and theatremaker, Erlina Ortiz, has won the 2022 National Latine Playwrights Award with her dramedy La Egoista, for which she will receive $2,500 and a professional workshop. In conjunction with ATC senior artistic staff, panelists included director, playwright and Associate Artistic Director for Syracuse Stage, Melissa Crespo; Jeff Award recipient, Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member, and television and Broadway actress Caroline Neff;  Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and author of “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen” José Antonio Vargas. The company also worked closely with the community and esteemed partners throughout the process to reach this final decision.

La Egoista explores the story of Josefina, a rising stand-up comic who takes nothing seriously, and her very religious sister Betsaida, who is suddenly diagnosed with a chronic illness. This surreal play follows Josefina through her comedic sets as they unfold in conjunction with the deterioration of her sister’s health. La Egoista uses comedy, puppets, magic, and memory to explore caregiving, the ways we process grief, and how to find balance between the selfless and the selfish. The play was commissioned by Live & In Color and presented at the 2022 LTC Comedy Carnaval.