The Henry Boettcher-NYDAC Award is an annual prize given to one graduating Carnegie Mellon student from the school of Drama to further that student’s artistic endeavors outside the walls of Purnell. 

This student is selected, not only because of their achievements while attending the university, but more importantly, based on their aspirations for the coming years outside of academia. 

Transitioning from college life to adult life is hard, but we hope that, this prize, even though a small amount, will help lessen the financial burden of that transition, and also assist in whatever creative undertakings await the recipient on the other side of graduation.

Read about our past recipients below!

2020 – Daniel Neale

Daniel is originally from Charlottesville, Virginia. After graduating from CMU with his BFA and a minor in Business in the middle of a global pandemic, Daniel moved to the Pacific Northwest, where he worked training dolphins and sea lions for the US Navy. Now, he’s back in NYC auditioning and working on his Master’s in Biology

2019 – Kayla Stokes

Kayla Stokes is a director, writer, and producer. She is passionate about investigating and telling the stories of people from all walks of life. As producer and host of the podcast Bias Bender, she explores the lives of Black women from the past and the present in order to imagine the future. In addition to her own podcast, Kayla is working on various scripted audio plays and series. Her theatrical directing credits include Dutchman (Carnegie Mellon), pato, pato, maricón (Ars Nova ANT Fest), Six Left Feet (The Black Box Project). Selected assisting projects include We’re Gonna Die (2nd Stage), “Daddy” (The New Group/Vineyard), Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (NYTW). Kayla is currently a part of Broadway Advocacy Coalition’s first cohort of Artivism Fellows, and her work is supported, in part, by a 4Culture Arc Artist Fellowship.

2018 – Kyle Decker

Kyle Decker has appeared as a guest star on Law and Order: SVU and FBI. He has participated in the NAMT festival of New Musicals as a performer and has performed in Off-Broadway productions with Project Y Theater Company. Hailing from sunny, exotic New Jersey originally and having received a BFA in Drama with a concentration in Musical Theater from Carnegie Mellon, Kyle is a lover of all things vintage and Golden Age and is constantly inspired by his fellow Tartans as they continue to take the entertainment world by storm.

2017 – Arica Jackson

Arica Jackson is originally from West Bloomfield, Michigan. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2017 and was the recipient of the 2017 Henry Boettcher- NYDAC Award. After graduation, she appeared in the first national tour of Waitress the musical. Then made her Broadway debut in the jukebox musical Head Over Heels. She has also appeared in the Broadway production of Waitress the musical. And upon Broadway’s return she plans to appear in the Roundabout Broadway revival of Caroline, or Change.

For all recent CMU graduates, I know the pandemic has raised great uncertainty. But this time has taught me that art survives and to always lean on fellow CMU graduates and faculty for guidance. You are not alone!

2015 – Eleanor Bishop

Eleanor Bishop is a stage director and writer working across theatre and opera. In 2021 she is the Friedlander Foundation Associate Artist for New Zealand Opera. Her recent New Zealand works include Chekhov’s The Seagull – a new online version (Auckland Theatre Company), Enemy of the People & Yes Yes Yes – a show about consent for young people. She worked as the associate director for New York based multimedia theatre company The Builders Association /Marianne Weems. MFA in Directing, Carnegie Mellon University

2014 – Sam French

Sam French is a Brooklyn based writer and director. NY credits include Kragtar (54 Below), The Alligator Play (Hudson Guild Theatre), Millicent Scowlworthy (Uncanny Valley), and Freaks (NYC Fringe). He is a former member of the Williamstown Theatre Festival directing corp, a former Robert Moss Directing Fellow at Playwrights Horizons, and a core member of Third Space. He has previously written audio fiction for Brick Moon Fiction and Kidpod Theater. He is the co-host of the podcast Insert Movie Here: The Musical! in which he turns movies that shouldn’t be musicals into them anyway. BFA in directing: Carnegie Mellon University.

2013 – Tegan McDuffie

Tegan Ritz McDuffie is an international performance and installation maker, intersectional feminist, and organizer. Currently Tegan facilitates performance projects as the Instructor of Project and Stage Management at New York University Abu Dhabi. Before joining NYUAD, Tegan was a Fulbright Scholar in Berlin, Germany; curator of STRUCTURE 13, an independent arts space in Brooklyn, NY; and graduated from the BFA Directing Program at CMU in 2013. Tegan’s artistic practice, research, and citizenship emerge from the negotiable entanglements of ecology and technology.

2012 – Katherine Brook

Katie Brook’s directing credits include The MS Phoenix Rising (a fiction podcast, with Playwrights Horizons), Dr. Ride’s American Beach House (Ars Nova), The Power of Emotion (Abrons Arts Center), How to Get Into Buildings (New Georges), She Is King (Incubator Arts Project), and ISLANDER (pandemic postponed, New York Theater Workshop Next Door) She received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University and has been awarded artist residencies from University Settlement, New Georges, and Abrons Arts Center. She is the Director of Production at StoryCorps.

2010 – Sarah Krohn

Sarah Krohn recently completed her first full-length play, Further, for which she received a scholarship to the 2021 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. As a director, she has worked at institutions including New Dramatists, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, WP Theatre, The Playwright’s Realm, NYTW, Soho Rep, The Flea Theater, and Williamstown Theater Festival, where she was a Sagal Directing Fellow. She has been a Time Warner Foundation Fellow at the Women’s Project; an Audrey Resident at New Georges; a member of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and she is former co-leader of the New Georges Jam writer/director group.

2009 – Michael Finkle

Michael Finkle is an agent in the Theatre department at WME (William Morris Endeavor). Representing an array of writers, directors, choreographers and intellectual properties for stage, TV/Film and other entertainment mediums. Previously, Michael served as an assistant to Casey Nicholaw, Christopher Ashley and David Binder and worked in the artistic department of La Jolla Playhouse. In addition, Michael served as assistant to the chair of undergraduate drama at Tisch at NYU. Michael holds a BFA in Drama/Directing from CMU and served as a former Co-President of NYDAC.

2009 – Katherine Wright

After graduating from CMU in 2009, KC moved to LA to build her on-camera chops. She traded LA for NYC in 2012, and made her TV debut later that year with a small recurring role on Boardwalk Empire. Shortly thereafter, she started the acting podcast hurryupandwait with fellow ’09 grad Ethan Saks, and began freelancing with Backstage Magazine. KC left the industry in 2017 to earn her MA in educational theatre and English from NYU. She is now blissfully applying her performance skills on the daily as a 12th grade English teacher at Bed Stuy’s Boys and Girls High School. 

2008 – Ben Goldberg

Ben D. Goldberg (BFA, 2008) is an actor, singer, musician, and writer currently residing in Los Angeles.  Since graduating from CMU, Ben has appeared on stage, screen, film, web series, and pretty much any other medium that is willing to give him a platform.  Selected credits include: ER, Castle, Shameless, For the People, Pilot Season, The Meddler, and others.  Ben is currently itching to reprise his role as Dom in the (as nuts as it sounds) The Fast and the Furious: A Musical Parody at Dynasty Typewriter in Los Angeles, and can be heard on an upcoming episode of FOX’s American Dad.