Nancy Dean Lesbian Playwriting Award

The Open Meadows Foundation is creating the Nancy Dean Lesbian Playwright Award in honour of Nancy Dean.

The Nancy Dean award for Lesbian Playwrights is to honour a woman who was at the forefront of Lesbian, queer, gay, genderqueer, gender-nonconforming, trans, intersex, and people of colour movements. They honour her focus and writing on Lesbian relationships before the time of the Stonewall rebellion. Her writings were the precursor to social change. In that spirit of struggle and often hidden desire, they encourage the submission of new plays that address the conflict of lesbian, queer or gay, trans, and nonbinary women struggling to live and love their best lives. In these times of social definition and refinement, the age-old conflict of acceptance and the right to live our true lives as we truly are is still our continuing fight which is refined and embolden by each new generation.

They understand people have their own language for their gender and sexuality. They are open to submission from people who are lesbian, queer or gay, trans and nonbinary.

They are a small family foundation with an all-volunteer board and must rely on nominations to identify potential recipients.

They are asking professors, teachers, artistic directors, directors, literary managers, actors, writers, and others to nominate promising writers. To be inclusive, they will allow people to self-nominate.


  • Writer is lesbian, queer or gay or nonbinary;
  • Writer has written at least one play;
  • Writer is writing plays about lesbians;
  • Writer is committed to writing plays and furthering her/their career;
  • Writer is interested in receiving the award.

Please send a letter(pdf) describing why your playwright should receive this award and a full-length play (pdf) to

In your letter, please be as detailed as possible in up to 2 pages. Include the writer’s resume and website or other social media links.



August 1, 2022.

They will announce the recipients October 31, 2022. They have been granting three awards of $5000, $2500, and $1250.

Nancy Dean Lesbian Playwriting Award (

Nancy Dean
Award-winning equestrian, Hunter College Professor for 28 years (Vassar BA, Harvard MA, NYU PhD) medieval scholar and author, novelist, prolific playwright, philanthropist, Nancy Dean died on October 6, 2017 in the hospital in Sullivan County. (87) Brilliant visionary, her many friends mourn the loss of Nancy’s vivacious presence, genuine wit, bold activism. In 1977 when Nancy Dean learned that women received less than 1% of foundation grants, she declared: “we must create our own.” The clarity of her vision, the power of her insistence, led to the founding of the Astraea Foundation which from its inception would prioritize the needs of lesbians and women of color. “Multi Multi” she insisted. We will build “unity across all class, race, and cultural divides.” The legacy of Nancy’s fierce, prescient leadership is manifested in the 40-years of relentless commitment to and expansion of her vision with the other founding mothers in today’s Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. With Beva Eastman, her partner of 54 years, Nancy subsequently founded the Open Meadows Foundation, a global fund for women and girls, serving those from particularly vulnerable communities. Rest in power, Nancy. Your legacy will live forever. One Act Plays include Blood and Water, Counter Talk, Gloria’s Visit, Murder at the Regatta, Ophelia’s Laughter, Returning Home, Ripe Avocados, and Which Marriage? Full length plays include Burning Bridges, Hetty Pepper’s Stew, Larks and Owls, The Misanthrope, That Ilk, and Upstairs in the Afternoon.

Contact Details

Event dates:
8 Jan 2022 -
8 Jan 2022
Opportunity deadline:
01 Aug 2022


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