The IFTR runs two annual essay competitions for the New Scholars' Prize and Helsinki Prize.

New Scholars' Prize 

The New Scholars' Prize is awarded to the best essay, judged on originality, coherence and rigour. The first prize would enable the winner(s) to attend the IFTR conference. It covers the following costs: conference registration, economy travel and student accommodation (or equivalent) for the duration of the conference. 

Helsinki Prize 

The Helsinki Prize was founded by the student Congress Team of the 2006 IFTR/FIRT World Congress in Helsinki. Since 2011, it has been offered annually by IFTR to a promising new scholar who may be a postgraduate or lecturer at any university, but whose country of origin and of first degree-level studies is in Africa, Asia or South America, and who wishes to participate in an IFTR conference. The prize is awarded on the basis of the merit of the essay and strives to promote the exchange and networking of new scholars in developing regions, and to encourage research in the field of theatre in their countries. The prize would enable the winner(s) to attend the IFTR conference. It covers the following costs: conference registration, economy travel and student accommodation (or equivalent) for the duration of the conference.


New Scholars Prize and Helsinki Prize: Recent Past Winners

Recent past winners New Scholars Prize and Helsinki Prize



New Scholars’ PrizeSam Cermak, Drama Department Queen Mary University of London. Nude in Water: Slovak Body Art and Feminist Politics in the Work of Ľuba Lauffová

Helsinki PrizeTzu-Yu Hung, Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, University of Toronto. Mediating Trauma: White Storyteller and Taiwanese Glove Puppetry

Special Mention
Aurélien Bellucci, American University of Paris. Playing the Citizen’s Part: A Hong Kong Artist Stages Illegal Protests Onlin

Isabel Kate Stuart, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Tearful Testimony: The Affective Politics of Tears in Breach Theatre’s It’s True, It’s True, It’s True


New Scholars’ Prize: Chaomei Chen (Trinity College Dublin) for the essay ‘Still Resisting Left Melancholy? Chinese New Leftist Theatre’s Inheritance and Resistance in Che Guevara (2000-2005)” 

Helsinki: Lesego Chauke (University of Cape Town), for the essay ‘“Live and Proclaim!": Mourning as Resistance in the Context of Pervasive Death in Mark Fleishman’s Antigone (Not Quite/Quiet)

Honorable Mention: Anthony Woods (The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London), for the essay ‘Subject & Structure: Violence in Actor Training’ 



New Scholars’ Prize: Rachel Merrill Moss, Lecturer in Dramatic Literature at Boston University (USA) for the essay ’The Theatre of Jewish Absence in Poland’ 

Helsinki Prize: Nisha Tiwari, PhD candidate, Jawaharlal Nehru University (India), for the essay ‘Feminist aesthetics of discomfiture: Performing Precarity in LasTesis’ The Rapist is You (2019) anMaya Rao’s The Scent of the Land (2020)’

Honorable mentions: Jessica Friedman, PhD candidate, Northwestern University, ‘Dancing Sharecroppers: Jane Dudley’s and Pearl Primus’ Border Crossing Blues’ and Sheetala Bhat, PhD candidate, Western University (Canada) for ‘Hunters Love against Hungry Listening: Indigenous Sovereignty in Vigil and The Unnatural and Accidental Women'



New Scholars’ Prize: Reka Polonyi, PhD candidate, University of Manchester  (UK) for the essay ‘Playful disobedience in the Model for a Qualitative Society; a method of practice for uncertain times’

Helsinki Prize: Hayana Kim, PhD candidate, Northwestern University (USA) for the essay ‘Performing Democracy in the Graveyard: Military Dictatorship and Commemorative Activism in South Korea’



New Scholars’ Prize: Guanda Wu, Lecturer at the Hangzhou Normal University (China) for his essay ‘Republican Nandan, the Discourse of Chinese “Aestheticism,” and the Formation of Nandan’s “Artistic” Femininity’

Helsinki Prize: Sheetala Bhat, PhD candidate, Western University (Canada) for the essay ‘In-between Love: Performance of Intimate Love as Making of Counterpublics in Mandeep Raikhy’s Queen-size

Honorable mention: Weston Twardowski, PhD candidate, Northwestern University (USA) for the essay ‘Peering into the Past: New Orleans Flooded House Museum and Re/Living History’ and Aine Josephine Mary Tyrell, PhD candidate at the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Stanford University for the essay titled ‘Looking Like Sh*t: The Visual Politics of Photographing Toiletsin/and Hassan Elahi’s Thousand Little Brothers’



New Scholars’ Prize: Cara Brophy-Browne, Trinity College Dublin

Helsinki Prize: Rina Tanaka, Meiji University



New Scholar’s Prize: Mara Valderrama, City University New York



New Scholars’ Prize: Eleanor Skimin, Brown University; Anna White-Nockleby, Harvard University; Phoebe Rumsey, City University New York

Helsinki Prize: Devika N Menon, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Dehli

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