Kenneth Tynan Award
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 biennial award is given to one outstanding theatre or dance professional working in the field of dramaturgy, residing in the United Kingdom – and is the only award in the country specifically to recognise this field. As well as an award ceremony, we host a day of keynote speakers, panel discussions and workshops open to members and the public.
Nominees for the award are put forward by the public, and the winner is chosen by the Kenneth Tynan Award Panel.
winners + speakers
As well as an award ceremony, the KTA is a chance to reflect on the practice of dramaturgy.
Here you can find speeches from KTA winners, as well as from speakers at the event.
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London
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.
Photography: Julian Lloyd
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 subsidised 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.
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.
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.
Rouse tempers, goad, lacerate
and raise whirlwinds.
The Kenneth Tynan Award honours dramaturgs who have made an outstanding contribution to dramaturgy in the UK during the last two years.
Who has inspired you? Whose work deserves greater recognition?
A dramaturg's contributions to the field may include, but are not limited to:
having discovered new talent or noteworthy writing
having helped a director to develop, fine-tune and realise their 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.
The Kenneth Tynan Award is the only award in the United Kingdom that is given to a dramaturg.
Please help us celebrate these unsung heroes of British theatre, and enable the d'n to continue with this biennual award. Your donation would be much appreciated.