Call for Submissions: Nathan Cohen Awards


Members of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association can submit to the following categories:

Outstanding Review: This award celebrates outstanding achievement in a written or verbal review of a particular production or productions by a Canada-based writer published within the qualifying time period, including elements of description, analysis and qualitative judgment of the production.

Outstanding Critical Essay: This award celebrates outstanding achievement in a piece of critical writing by a Canada-based writer outside of the traditional review format. This may include features, interviews, trend pieces, editorials, and article series (up to a maximum of 2,500 words cumulatively) written from a critical perspective. If you are unsure whether a piece is eligible for submission, please contact the CTCA.

Outstanding Emerging Critic: This award celebrates outstanding achievement by a Canada-based writer who has been practicing theatre criticism for less than three years, either professionally, non-professionally or in a training context. Reviews submitted for the Outstanding Emerging Critic award need not have been previously published. This award includes a posting as CTCA Critic-in-Residence at Intermission Magazine and the opportunity to publish reviews and/or long-form pieces for the magazine under the mentorship of Intermission senior editor and CTCA president Aisling Murphy. This award is open to applicants with a CTCA Student Membership. Submissions must include a bio and a representative review or essay (written, audio, video or multi-media) completed within the eligible time frame.

The awards, established in 1981, recognize outstanding critical writing in print and/or digital media. They are open to any writer who is normally resident in Canada. Entries for this year’s Outstanding Review and Outstanding Critical Essay awards must have been published between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2022. Entries for this year’s Outstanding Emerging Critic awards must have been written between October 1, 2020 and October 30, 2022.

The awards for Outstanding Review and Outstanding Critical Essay carry a cash prize and a framed certificate. These awards will be judged by Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones, who has also served as director of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute since 2014. The award for Outstanding Emerging Critic will be judged by established critic and editor Deirdre Kelly.

The awards will be presented at a date to be announced.

The awards are named after Nathan Cohen (1923-1971), esteemed theatre critic for the Toronto Star and CBC, and were established to encourage his high standards of rigorous and insightful criticism. For a list of past recipients, see the CTCA website:

Entries should be emailed to CTCA president Aisling Murphy at: as a Word document. Links to work published online will also be accepted.

For Outstanding Review and Outstanding Critical Essay awards: There is a $10 fee per entry for members of the CTCA. Non-members pay a fee of $35 for the first entry and a $10 fee for each entry thereafter. Anyone paying the $35 fee will be designated an Associate Member of the organization for the remainder of the calendar year. (Regular CTCA membership may then be applied for on or after Jan. 1, 2023.)

For Outstanding Emerging Critic award (new this year): All entrants, including non-members, must pay $10. Non-CTCA members’ fee will cover both the award entry fee and one year of student membership with the CTCA.

The entry fee should be sent to CTCA Treasurer Steve Fisher at It may be sent as an e-transfer or by cheque in the mail. If sending by mail, make the cheque payable to Canadian Theatre Critics Association and post to:
CTCA – Nathan Cohen Awards
234-125 Earl Place
Toronto, ON M4Y 1M4

Entries will only be valid after receipt of the entry fee. If you have any other questions about the CTCA or the Nathan Cohen Awards, please contact CTCA president Aisling Murphy at


The CTCA is an association of professional critics, entertainment writers, and journalists from the online, broadcast and print media, operating first as the Toronto Drama Bench in the 1970s and expanding nationally in 1981 to become the Canadian Theatre Critics Association/ Association des Critiques de Théâtre du Canada. The organization works to promote excellence in the craft of theatre criticism across Canada and to encourage the development of new Canada-based writers.

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