Providing advocacy & resources for the field of theatre for young audiences.

Welcome to the Harold Oaks Awards.

The purpose of the Harold Oaks/TYA/USA Honorees is to acknowledge the significant contributions of individuals and organizations in the Theatre for Young Audiences field in the US. Both organizations and/or individuals will be honored yearly at the annual TYA/USA membership meeting. 

We would like to honor groups in the following categories: professional theatres, arts organizations, publishers, college/university programs, and individual artists and administrators in the field of young audiences. Nominees must be current TYA/USA members to qualify for the honor.

How has the nominee contributed to the artistic development of the field of Theatre for Young Audiences?

Nationally? How has the nominee brought national recognition to the field?

Regionally?  How has the nominee contributed to and interacted with their local community?

Globally?  What international collaborations have they been engaged in?  OR how has the nominee contributed to a global/diverse understanding of the field of Theatre for Young Audiences?

Read the 2016 Announcement!


Recipient History


Organization: Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina

Individual: Megan Alrutz, University of Texas Austin

Special Awards: Linda Hartzell (Seattle Children’s Theatre) and David Saar (Childsplay) in celebration of their contributions to the field as they retire from their Artistic Directorships of their respective companies.

Presented at OTW: Sessions, The Kennedy Center, Washington, DC, May 6, 2016


Organization: Adventure Theatre MTC, Glen Echo, Maryland

Individual: Gayle Sergel, Dramatic Publishing

Presented at One Theatre World, The Palmer House, Chicago, Illinois, May 7, 2015

Sarah Brunow accepts the award for Adventure Theatre MTC.

Roger Bedard presents the award to Gayle Sergel. Photos by Johnny Knight Photo.


Organization: Metro Theatre Company, St. Louis, Missouri

Individual: Scot Copeland, Nashville Children’s Theatre

Presented at OTW: Sessions, The Kennedy Center, May 16, 2014


Organization: People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pennsylvania

Individual: Joette Pelster, The Coterie, Kansas City, Missouri

Presented at One Theatre World, Cleveland, May 2013.

About Harold Oaks

Harold Oaks was President of ASSITEJ International (1999-2002); President of ASSITEJ/USA (1988-1995); President, The American Alliance for Theatre and Education (1987-88); and has been an officer of the National Association of Schools of Theatre; The American Theatre Association and The Children’s Theatre Association of America.

Dr. Oaks is an emeritus Professor of Theatre at Brigham Young University where he was Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts & Communications and Coordinator of the Drama/Theatre for Young People program.  He chaired the BYU Department of Theatre & Film for twelve years. He has also taught and directed at colleges and universities in Minnesota, Maryland, Nebraska and Colorado.

He has directed more than forty-five plays, including performances at festivals in the US, Norway, Austria, and the former Yugoslavia. He has written over one hundred articles, reviews and publications and edited Outstanding Plays for Young Audiences International Bibliography, Volumes 2-6. He was also founding editor of ASSITEJ International Hot Line with circulation to seventy-two international centers, five times a year.

He continues to serve young people throughout the world creating puppet shows that teach about substance abuse and hygiene. They have been translated into over seventeen languages and used in over twenty-five countries.

Learn More