“Rouse tempers, goad, lacerate and raise whirlwinds.”  

(Kenneth Tynan)

In 2011, marking its tenth anniversary, the Dramaturgs’ Network established the first award in the United Kingdom recognising excellence in the field of dramaturgy. This biannual award is to be given to one outstanding theatre (or dance) professional working in the field of dramaturgy, residing in the United Kingdom. Applicants for the award are nominated by the public and the winner is chosen by the Kenneth Tynan Award Panel. 


Who has inspired you in the past two years? Whose work deserves greater recognition? Who has made a significant contribution to dramaturgy in the UK through their work?

The Kenneth Tynan Award honours dramaturgs who have made an outstanding contribution to dramaturgy in the UK during the last two years. Contributions may include but are not limited to:


  • having discovered new talent or noteworthy writing,

  • having helped a director to develop, fine-tune and realise his/her concept,

  • having helped a company to shape a new production,

  • having matched the right play with the right translator,

  • having curated a great festival,

  • having helped to raise the standard of theatre and/or dance in the United Kingdom.



Photography: Julian Lloyd 

Kenneth Tynan

 The award is named after Kenneth Tynan (1927 – 1980),  the first dramaturg in the United Kingdom

A brilliant and feared critic and a great supporter of the cause of a


bsidised repertory theatre, Tynan gave up his job at The Observer to join Laurence Olivier at the newly established National Theatre. He worked as a literary manager between 1963 and 1974, paving the way to the success of the first-ever publicly funded theatre in Britain.


Being widely read and knowledgeable in world theatre, Tynan played a great part in forming the theatre's repertoire and pushing Olivier to make more adventurous choices. He commissioned and worked on new plays and translations, attended rehearsals, edited programmes and books, and acted as the public face of the theatre. He also played an enormous role in destroying the old system of censorship. His work as a dramaturg was invaluable, and as such, he made an immeasurable contribution to British theatre.




“His appointment challenged traditional British management structures assigning artistic and managerial responsibility to actor-managers, and in post Tynan provided a model of literary management that continues to be appropriated and refashioned by theatre companies throughout the United Kingdom. (…) his impact on the theatre industry itself has been extraordinary.”

(Mary Luckhurst)

Donate to the Kenneth Tynan Award

The Kenneth Tynan Award is the only award in the United Kingdom that is given to a dramaturg. It is celebrated with a day-long festival of dramaturgy. At the end of the day, the winner of the KTA receives a plaque and a cheque.
Please help us celebrate these unsung heroes of British theatre, and enable the d'n to continue with this biannual award. Your donation would be much appreciated.

Winners of the Kenneth Tynan Award

“All I can say is that this award could not be named after a better person, since he not only defined the job for future generations but expanded the frontiers of British theatre.”

(Michael Billington)

Suzanne Bell

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Hanna Slättne

Tinderbox Theatre, Belfast

Ruth Little
Akram Khan Company, London 


Lloyd Trott
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London


Dramaturgy Papers

Speeches made by the presenters and the winners of the Kenneth Tynan Award, that were presented at the award ceremony. With this, we want to establish the tradition of the Dramaturgy Papers.

Suzanne Bell: Keep Asking Questions

Sudha Bhuchar: KTA 2019 Keynote Speech 

Hanna Slättne: The Art of Creating a Skeleton

Mark Ravenhill: Theatre and Democracy

Ruth Little: Dynamic Structures and Living Systems: An unreliable pocket manual for the dramaturgical human

Tom StoppardOn Kenneth Tynan

Michael Billington's speech at the inaugural Kenneth Tynan Award ceremony

Tracy Tynan's message for the inaugural Kenneth Tynan Award ceremony

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