Robert Porterfield Scholarship

Scholarship winners will be announced in the coming weeks! We apologize for not meeting the publicized June 30 announcement date.

About the Scholarship

The Robert Porterfield Graduate Scholarship is awarded to a student pursuing a graduate degree in theatre. Robert Porterfield was the founder and longtime director of the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA. A charter member of SETC and a co-founder of its annual auditions, he continued to support the organization throughout his career. When the Endowment Fund was created, Bob became SETC’s first life member, and the Board later named its first scholarship in his honor.

2019-2020 Scholarship Applications

Thank you to everyone who applied! We look forward to announcing the winning scholar.

Selection Process and Timeline

  • Applications Accepted: Jan. 1 – April 1, 2019
  • Application Reviews / Candidate Interviews: April – June 2019
  • Winning Scholar Announced on SETC Website: June 30, 2019
  • Scholarship Funds Available: Upon Proof of Matriculation, 2019-2020 Academic Year
  • Winning Scholar Attends SETC Convention: 71st Annual Convention; Louisville, KY; Feb. 26 – Mar. 1, 2020

One Scholar Will Receive

  • $2,000
  • Free one-year SETC student membership
  • Free registration for the 2020 SETC Convention
  • Photo and bio recognition on the SETC website


Candidates must meet each of these qualifications to be eligible for this award:

  • You must be planning to attend an accredited program of graduate studies in Theatre during the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • You must have graduated from, be currently attending, or have plans to attend an accredited academic institution in one of the following 10 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or West Virginia.

Application Materials

For consideration, eligible candidates must submit the following materials in a single, multi-page PDF document to by the deadline:

  • Completed Application Form
  • A personal letter outlining plans and objectives
  • A complete resume
  • Three letters of reference speaking specifically to the applicant’s potential as a graduate student
  • Complete transcripts from all colleges/universities attended


Questions about submitting application materials should be sent to Other questions about this scholarship should be sent to Porterfield Scholarship Chair Jimmy Chrismon.

Scholarship Stories

Recent Porterfield Scholars share what winning the scholarship meant to their studies and how the award funds helped them pursue their ambitions:

Jane Reichard ~ 2018-2019 Scholar

“The Porterfield Scholarship was very helpful to me in my graduate studies (MFA in Costume Production from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). I was able to use the funds to buy materials for my portfolio projects including digitally printed fabric, new tools, and supplementary books for my classes.”

Leah Thomas ~ 2017 Scholar

“SETC has been an organization that has set me up for success for nine years now! Through SETC I was connected with my first professional gig out of undergrad, and receiving the Porterfield Scholarship made it possible for me to afford a summer opportunity that led to the completion of my thesis project in graduate school! As I begin my new role of Director of Education and Engagement at Victoria Theatre Association, in Dayton, Ohio, I have to stop and recognize that I did not get here by myself. This organization jump started my career that has made it possible for me to make connections with theater companies far and wide, and I am forever grateful. ”

Joseph D’Ambrosi ~ 2016 Scholar

“I am so thankful to SETC for its emphasis on the professional and academic growth of graduate students in multiple subject areas in theatre. It’s an incredible honor to represent this organization as the Porterfield Graduate Scholar. As a Ph.D. student in Theatre History and Literature at Indiana University, I will use this award to further my scholarship opportunities at future theatre conferences.”