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Department of Performance Studies 2021

Departmental Book Award

Presented to majors who over the academic year or over the course of their time in the department have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to performance practice and scholarship

  • Craig Carroll
  • Melissa Lewyn
  • Emil Lee
  • Elyse Yun

Robert S. and Gertrude B. Breen Memorial Award

Presented to an outstanding graduate student; established in 1992 to honor the memory of Robert S. Breen — a School of Communication alumnus (bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees), member of the performance studies faculty from 1947 to 1978, and professor emeritus from 1978 until his death in 1991 — and his wife, Gertrude B. Breen, who earned her bachelor’s degree from the school and was closely linked to the University until her death in 1992

  • Danielle Ross

Dwight Conquergood Award for Excellence in Performance Pedagogy

Presented to a graduate student in performance studies who best upholds Conquergood’s commitment to critically engaged pedagogy

  • Tarek Benchouia
  • Rashayla Marie Brown

Frank J. Galati Prize for Undergraduate Essays in Performance Studies

Recognizes excellence in undergraduate essays; celebrates the contributions of Frank Galati, who retired from the performance studies department in 2006 after more than three decades of teaching


  • Talia Schulhof
    Satire on TikTok: Is it Activism?

Second Place (tie)

  • Kwok Ren Darek Chu
    The role of Dabke on Palestinian Heritage and Identity
  • Zachary Forbes
    Giving the Theatre a New Syncopation, Frank Galati’s Ragtime:  The Rise of the ‘Chicago-Style’ of Directing

Lilla A. Heston Award for Academic Excellence

Presented to a graduate student in performance studies; established in 1984 by Mrs. Chester L. Heston in memory of her daughter, Lilla Heston, an exemplary Northwestern student who became a highly respected and much-loved faculty member and chaired the department from 1979 until her death in 1984

  • Arnaldo Rodriguez-Bague

James L. Lardner Memorial Award

Presented to an undergraduate for achievement in extracurricular activities; honors James Lardner, a practitioner of the “golden style of oratory,” who gave frequent readings and served the school from 1909 until his retirement in 1941

  • Coco Huang

Martha Lavey Prize

Designated for outstanding upperclassmen in the Department of Performance Studies. The award is named in honor of SoC alumna Martha Lavey (Comm ’79, ’86, ’94 H ’10), former artistic director and ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre and longtime advocate of young playwrights, artists and community outreach

  • Nathan Karnik