Innovative Playwriting Instruction Award

About the Award

Each year, SETC will honor a high school teacher for innovation in teaching playwriting as part of their curriculum, regardless of discipline. For example, a lesson plan where students write monologues in the voice of an historical character figure for a history class or a short play on molecular adhesion in a science class would be eligible for recognition as would a formal course in playwriting. Key factors are quality of instruction, philosophy behind the use of playwriting instruction in the classroom, and successful realization of student work. Teachers may nominate themselves.

Announcing the 2017 Winner:

Stacy “Alea” McKinley

Stacy “Alea” McKinley is a National Board Certified High School English teacher with over nine years of professional experience in a range of high schools. She has a B.A. in Theatre from the College of Charleston and an M.Ed. from DePaul University with a focus on English. In addition to her educational background, Alea has performed professionally with the Improv and Musical Improv Conservatories at Second City and the Improv School at iO (formerly known as Improv Olympic). She currently teaches 9th and 12th grade English at Charleston County School of the Arts and acts as a Curriculum Coach at Engaging Creative Minds in Charleston, SC.

She credits Stephen Rahe, Keith McGill, and Meredith McDonough of Actors Theatre Louisville for introducing her to the New Voices playwriting format; Rodney Rogers, Sharon Graci, and PURE Theatre in Charleston, SC for collaborating and making the playwriting with professional actors/theatre backing dream a reality; Todd McNerney and Joy Vandervort-Cobb for being the best theatre professors in the entire world; and Alicia Kokkinis for teaching her how to write grants and for crowdsourcing websites. Thanks to Burton Callicott and Emily Connor, partners and collaborators supreme, and Johnny Gabriel, writing teacher, mentor, and dearest friend. – “I am a part of all that I have met.” – Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Nominations for the Innovative Playwriting Instruction Award will be accepted between March 1 and June 1 each year. The winner will be announced in November.

Nominees will be asked to submit a description of their innovative teaching, their CV, and two letters of recommendation from those familiar with their teaching (one such letter can be from the nominator). Nominators are encouraged, where appropriate, to include samples of student work in support of the nomination. The Chair of the Innovative Playwriting Instruction Award Committee and a panel of advisers will review all nominations.

The winning High School Teacher will be recognized during the award ceremony of the annual convention and will receive funding for travel, accommodations, conference registration, an award banquet ticket, a one-year membership in SETC, and a cash award in the amount of $250. The winning teacher must agree to attend the convention (always in early March) to be eligible to receive the award.

More Information

Contact Kevin Ferguson, Innovative Playwriting Instruction Award Chair, for more information.

Past Winners

2017 – Stacy “Alea” McKinley
2016 – Darlene Freemon,
2015 – Bill Leavengood