The Chris Johnson Award for Best Play by a Manitoba Playwright

The Chris Johnson Award, established in 2014 and named for Dr. Chris Johnson, Professor of Theatre, University of Manitoba, honours the best new play either produced or published by a Manitoba Playwright. The award normally follows a two year cycle; due to the pandemic and the cancellation of much of the 2020/21 and 2021/22 theatre seasons, the next cycle will cover the calendar years 2021 to 2023 (January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023).

The 2019/2020 Chris Johnson Award was presented as part of the Manitoba Book Awards/Les Prix du Livre du Manitoba in the spring of 2021.

Past winners Trish Cooper, far left, and Rick Chafe, far right

Criteria for the 2019/2020 Chris Johnson Award:

1.  The play can be written in English or French

2.  The play, if produced, must be a Canadian Actors Equity Association production, where the majority of cast members are Equity. Please note that due to this year’s exceptional circumstances, plays that were scheduled for a CAEA professional production in 2020 but were cancelled due to the pandemic, and are not being rescheduled in a future season, are eligible for the 2019/2020 Chris Johnson Award.

3.  The play, if published, must have a recognized publisher.

4.  The play may be of any length, any form, and intended for any age group.

5. The play must be submitted by the playwright, with a production history; or, in the case of published play, by the playwright or publisher. No other information is needed.

6. Elligible playwrights will have been a resident in Manitoba for one of the past two years, and three of the past five years.  

7. The jury selects the winning play.  MAP will select the jury, and oversee the process of selection.

8. A reading committee may be formed, depending on the number of submissions, to prepare a short list.

There is a $30 entry fee, in accordance with the rules of the Manitoba Book Awards (entrance fees are returned to MAP to cover jury and administrative expenses).

Prize is $1,000.00, and a trophy.  

Complete application guidelines and the on-line submission form for the 2019/2020 Chris Johnson Award can be found here: Manitoba Book Awards Chris Johnson Award

Past Winners:

2013/2014 - Rick Chafe, The Secret Mask

2015/2016 - Trish Cooper, Social Studies

2017/2018 - Ginny Collins, The Flats 

2019/2020 - Lara Rae, Dragonfly


2019/2022 Chris Johnson Award shortlisted playwrights