2018 AITAF Playwriting Award Winner!



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The Bridge Award was established with the purpose of recognizing an emerging playwright of exceptional talent within the United States military. The award consists of a $10,000 prize, and an AITAF produced reading of the winning work. The 2019 final selecting judge was Tony Kushner.

In addition to bringing world-class theater to the military, AITAF is committed to supporting and sharing the talents of those who serve. This award offers a deserving current military service member or veteran artist important connections with the theater community and access to developmental resources, helping to facilitate a deeper understanding and more active dialogue between military and civilian communities.

Submissions for the 2020 Bridge Award will be from December 1, 2019 until February 1, 2020. 

Shairi Engle in the News!


"San Diego emerging playwright Shairi Engle just won the AITAF (Arts in the Armed Forces) Bridge Award, for her (amazingly titled) first play, “Tampons, Dead Dogs, and Other Disposable Things,” selected by Tony Kushner (and announced in a video by a genuinely thrilled-for-her Adam Driver). Of the selection, Kushner said: “The play is marvelously stageworthy, but it’s also literature, written to be read — that understanding of playwriting is rarer than it should be, and encountering a playwright who gets it is an occasion to rejoice.” Be proud, San Diego."

- Julia Dixon Evans

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2019 Final Selecting Judge: Tony Kushner

Tony Kushner

Tony Kushner's plays include A Bright Room Called DayAngels in America, Parts Oneand TwoSlavs!Homebody/Kabul; the musical Caroline, or Change and the opera A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck, both with composer Jeanine Tesori; and The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide To Capitalism And Socialism With A Key To The  Scriptures. He has adapted and translated Pierre Corneille's The Illusion, S.Y. Ansky's The Dybbuk, Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan and Mother Courage and Her Children; and the English-language libretto for the opera Brundibár by Hans Krasa.  He wrote the screenplays for Mike Nichols' film of Angels In America, and for Steven Spielberg's Munich and Lincoln. His books include Brundibar, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; The Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the Present; and Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon. Kushner is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, an Olivier Award, an Emmy Award, two Oscar nominations, and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, among other honors. In 2012, he was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. He lives in Manhattan with his husband, Mark Harris.

The Bridge Award Team


Tony Kushner

Submissions Coordinator/Reader Committee Chair
Anna O’Donoghue

Reading Committee
Will Arbery
Heidi Armbruster
J. Stephen Brantley
Jack Canfora
Nat Cassidy
Alice Eve Cohen
Nick Gandiello
Hunter Kaczorowski
Portia Krieger
Eric Lane
Vinnie Lyman
Mona Mansour
Caroline McGraw
Winter Miller
Anna Moench
Tira Palmquist
Jihae Park
Emily Schwend
Crystal Skillman
Tom Story
Daniel Talbott
Leah Nanako Winkler
Pironne Yousefzadeh

AITAF encourages first time playwrights to submit!

View Playwriting Resources

The awarded playwright receives:

  • $10,000 prize.

  • An AITAF produced reading of the winning play, in NYC or on base (if the winning playwright is in active duty) with a professional director and cast.

  • A reception and feedback session following the reading.


  • Author must currently serve or have served in the United States military. All selected finalists will be required to provide proof of service.

  • All submissions must be full-length, completed plays.

  • Musicals, screenplays, or one-act plays are ineligible.

  • All submissions must be unpublished.

  • The submitted play may not have received a professional, reviewed production.

  • The submitted play may address any subject matter or theme; military settings or content are not given any extra consideration.

  • Each author may submit one play per year; multiple submissions are not allowed.

  • Once a play has been submitted, no further revisions or new drafts may be entered.

  • Plays with a producer, producing organization or theater attached are not eligible.