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Graduate Student Drama Scholarships

Every spring, the School of Drama awards scholarships for current graduate students for the next academic year. Scholarships can range from $100 to $1,000. 

The scholarship application must include a coversheet, drama resume, current transcript, and short essay. Forms and eligibility information will be posted here in spring of each year. Scholarship applications should be submitted as a single PDF file to the graduate programs advisor  by the April deadline each year.

Scholarships available may include:

  • The Frank and Martha Ackerman Scholarship – This fund was created by Frank and Martha Ackerman in honor of Martha’s mother. It is intended to be equally divided between the Schools of Drama and Music. This scholarship is awarded to either graduate or undergraduate students who have provided evidence of financial need and are in good academic standing.
  • The John Ashby Conway Memorial Scholarship – John Ashby Conway taught design at the School of Drama for 40 years and retired in 1975. He was the original designer of the Penthouse Theater. Upon his death in 1987, a memorial scholarship was set in his name and overseen by his widow, Dorothy. This scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student in design or technical theatre. Students must be active participants in the School of Drama community.
  • Michael Quinn Writing Prize – Michael Quinn was a member of the SoD PhD faculty from 1989 to 1994 when he lost his battle with lymphoma. In the words of Sarah Nash Gates, “PhD and BA students found him intellectually challenging, clear and very witty. His photographic memory allowed him to quote playwrights, theorists and baseball stats with amazing ease. Michael was instrumental in bringing major guests to campus to enrich our program and was an excellent mentor in the PhD program. Illustrating his generosity – before he died, he arranged for the royalties from his book to fund a student prize for writing.” Barry Witham adds, “Michael was a genuine young scholar who prized scholarship and wanted to encourage it. At first the fund was meant for PhD students but then he decided it should award good writing at any level. For me it certainly encapsulates the spirit and vision of a wonderful man.” The faculty selects the best essay written by a School of Drama student for the Quinn Writing Prize. This prize is traditionally awarded to a student in the doctoral program.
  • Laura and Robert McBride Endowed Drama Scholarship - Laura McBride was born in Oregon Oct. 3, 1917. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington in Seattle, probably in 1939. Robert McBride received his Master of Fine Arts in Drama at UW in 1942. The McBride's were actors in New York City and summer stock in Connecticut from the late 1940s through the 1950s. Robert went on to be vice president and Far Eastern representative with Irving Trust in Hong Kong, where they resided for 15 years. Laura was a world traveler, talented seamstress and knitter, writer, author and artist. This scholarship is for undergraduates or graduates who are pursuing a degree in the field of drama. 

  • Shelley & Phil Schermer Endowment Scholarship – Phil and Shelley (Henze) Schermer both graduated from the University of Washington’s School of Drama. Phil received his M.A. in Scenery and Lighting Design and Technical Direction in 1969, while Shelley received her B.A. in Drama in 1971. Immediately upon graduating, Shelley was hired by A Contemporary Theatre (ACT). For several years she was a scenic artist and prop master at ACT and the Seattle Rep while she built her career as a scenery designer for ACT, the Bathhouse, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Intiman and many other theatres. Shelley has designed for well over one hundred theatre productions. Upon finishing graduate school, Phil was hired as the UW School of Drama’s Theatre Production Supervisor where he oversaw the School’s scenery shop and theatre facilities, and the technical staff and students working in them. In 1974, Greg Falls hired Phil as Technical Director of ACT. Phil spent twenty-three years with the theatre, overseeing all aspects of the productions and the expansion and renovation of the facility with architect Gary Wakasuki. The Schermers’ fruitful professional relationship with Greg Falls and his wife Jean led to partnerships beyond ACT. In 1975, the couples and another former UW associate, Mac Perkins, founded Pacific Northwest Theatre Associates (PNTA), which, would become one of the premier theatrical suppliers in the country. Phil continued his work on ACT’s renovation and move into the historic Eagles Auditorium even after receiving a lung cancer diagnosis in 1996. Shelley was grateful that they spent the majority of the last year of Phil’s life working together on this venture. She has said that through her long career, she is proudest of designing and executing the interiors for the spaces that Phil created for ACT. Shelley has remained a vital part of the theatre community in the Puget Sound Area - you can see her scenic design for ACT’s annual production of A Christmas Carol every winter. This award provides financial assistance to undergraduate or graduate students who are studying technical theatre, scenic or lighting design, or sound design. Selection for the undergraduate scholarship will be determined by demonstrated aptitude for success in theatre design and/or technical theater. Graduate students who receive this award must participate in an internship with one of the professional theater companies in Seattle.

  • School of Drama Scholarship – In 1962, when Greg Falls was Director of the School of Drama, he felt it necessary to establish a School of Drama Scholarship. Many, many alumni have and continue to support this fund.  This scholarship is awarded to students on the basis of merit and leadership within the School of Drama. This scholarship is typically given to undergraduate students, but can be awarded to graduate students as well. To be eligible, students must be in residence on the Seattle campus for the quarter they will be receiving the award.

We also have information about Graduate Tuition and Financial Aid and past Scholarship Recipients available online.

The Graduate School has a list of fellowships they administer.

The College of Arts and Sciences has scholarships they administer. Area faculty nominate graduate students to be considered for these awards.