Bringing the Washington, DC-area theatre community together in recognition and celebration.

Helen Hayes Awards

The Helen Hayes Awards recognize outstanding achievement from professional theatres and theatre-makers across the Washington, DC region. Named for the legendary First Lady of the American Theatre, Helen Hayes, the awards celebrate the artists and companies whose work makes the Washington, DC-area a thriving, nationally recognized theatre community.

The process of adjudication, judges reviewing productions, will resume in January 2022, after a pause due to the pandemic. We look forward to celebrating an Awards ceremony again in 2023.  

Learn more about the Awards, including information on adjudication, categories, eligibility, and procedures.

 

group of people reaching up to one person in the center with their arms raised

Fame The Musical at GALA Hispanic Theatre.

Stan Weinstein

Nominee & Recipient Database

With thousands of nominees in dozens of categories annually, there are many memories and much to celebrate! Use our Helen Hayes Award nominee and recipient database to search theatres, theatre-makers, and productions since 2011.

a young black person wearing a blue polo shirt, yellow cap, and red headphones looking at their phone
Billie Krishawn as Raylynn in Blood at the Root at Theater Alliance. 
C. Stanley Photography

The 2020 Helen Hayes Awards

The 36th annual Helen Hayes Awards were celebrated over four weeks in August and September 2020 as a series of virtual events–both individual award announcements and a culmination video premiere. During this time, we recognized the outstanding work on Washington, DC-area stages in 2019, reflected on this unprecedented time in our industry, and gathered our full community of theatre-makers through virtual spaces.

10 people posing for a photograph in two rows

The first Board of Directors of the Helen Hayes Awards. Front row:  Howard Shalwitz, Harry Bagdasian, Helen Hayes, John Neville Andrews. Back row: Richard Bryant, Larisa Wanserski, Betti Brown, Richard L. Coe, Bonnie Nelson Schwartz (Founder), Peter Jablow. Missing: Harry Teter.

History of the Helen Hayes Awards

In the early 1980s, the Washington Theatre Awards Society was founded to recognize and encourage the excellence of Washington, DC’s professional theatres. Since then, the Washington, DC-area theatre community has grown into one of the largest and most successful in the nation, producing a wide range of classical plays, original musicals, theatre for young audiences, and new work.

still photo of video of three women

Roz White, Maria Manuela Goyanes, and Debbie Allen are featured in the new interview series from Events DC and Theatre Washington.

Backstage at the Helen Hayes Awards

Events DC, Theatre Washington, and executive producer Bonnie Nelson Schwartz (founder of the Helen Hayes Awards) present Backstage at the Helen Hayes Awards - a three-part series hosted on GATHER by Events DC spotlighting DC’s outstanding professional theatre community.