TCG National Conference 2007 - TCG Awards


Since 2001, the TCG Awards have saluted extraordinary contributions to the American theatre community.

Each TCG member theatre is urged to nominate one honoree in each award category. A committee of TCG’s board of directors will select the award recipients from the pool of nominees.

The 2007 TCG Awards recipients were:

Corporate: Humana Inc./the Humana Foundation
Foundation: Nathan Cummings Foundation
Regional Funder: Travelers Foundation
Theatre Practitioner: Elizabeth LeCompteand Luis Valdez
Peter Zeisler Memorial Award: The Foundry Theatre

TCG Corporate Award:

Humana Inc./Humana Foundation

Presented by: Marc Masterson, Artistic Director,Actors Theatre of Louisville
Accepted by: Robert Komula, CFO, Humama Great Lakes Region
The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., one of the nation’s leading health benefits companies. The Foundation is located in Louisville, Kentucky, the site of Humana’s corporate headquarters. The Humana Foundation supports and nurtures charitable activities that promote healthy lives and healthy communities. From its inception, Co-founders David A. Jones and the late Wendell Cherry have made the arts an integral part of Humana’s culture. Since 1975, the company has contributed more than $40 million to the arts in Louisville, as well as around the country.

Humana’s sponsorship of Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays began in 1979 and has since provided more than $16.4 million in continued support. This is believed to be the longest current partnership between a U.S. corporation and a performing arts organization. In addition, the company has supported the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and theatres in Chicago, Austin, Kansas City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Sarasota, and Washington D.C., and organizations such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Americans for the Arts, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, American Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Modern Art and The New York Philharmonic.

The corporate award recognizes a small, midsize or large company that has evidenced national leadership and has provided sustained outstanding support of theatre(s) in America. Previous recipients: 2005: Target; 2003: AT&T; 2001: Altria.

TCG Foundation Award

The Nathan Cummings Foundation

Presented by: Rosalba Rolón, Artistic Director, Pregones Theater
The Nathan Cummings Foundation is rooted in the Jewish tradition and committed to democratic values and social justice, including fairness, diversity, and community. The foundation seeks to build a socially and economically just society that values nature and protects the ecological balance for future generations; promotes humane health care; and fosters arts and culture that enriches communities.The foundation owes its existence and inspiration to Nathan Cummings,who rose from impoverished beginnings to become the founder and guiding force of the Sara Lee Corporation. He inherited a spirit of sharing and a sense of community from his immigrant parents and transmitted these values to his children and grandchildren, who now contribute their time and energy to the foundation.The Nathan Cummings Foundation’s Arts and Culture program works to support artistic practices, programs and policies that encourage cross-cultural and multidisciplinary collaborations, and give voice to the issues and periences of underrepresented communities, in order to build a stronger society. The funding priorities acknowledge the roles that artists and cultural workers play in stimulating social change and championing economic justice in both traditional and non-traditional venues. By addressing art through the lens of social justice, the program affirms artists and arts institutions that value and encourage reactivity, innovation and risk-taking while fostering cross-cultural conversations that transcend race, ethnicity, class, age and geography. The foundation also supports private, public and corporate policies that benefit artists, arts organizations and constituent communities;as well as cross-disciplinary strategies that align the arts community with others with similar or complimentary interests.

The Foundation Award recognizes a foundation that has evidenced leadership and has provided sustained national outstanding support of theatre in America. Previous recipients: 2006: The Wallace Foundation; 2005: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; 2003: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; 2001: The Shubert Foundation.

TCG Regional Funder Award

Travelers Foundation

Presented by: Peter Brosius, Artistic Director,The Children’s Theatre Company
Accepted by: Mary Pickard, Vice President of Community Affairs and President of Travelers Foundation

Travelers Foundation, Travelers Connecticut Foundation, and Travelers Community Affairs are the charitable giving components of Travelers Companies. Travelers Companies earned $25 billion in revenues, just over $5 billion in after-tax profits, in 2006 and is ranked #89 on the Fortune 100 list of companies. The giving program and foundation of the company gave approximately $15 million charitably last year through two foundations and the corporate giving program.
Travelers focuses on three giving priorities: Arts/Culture, Education, and Community Development. In 2006, 19% of its giving budget went to funding in Arts and Culture, specifically Arts/Diversity and
Arts Education. Travelers takes pride in the work of its Arts and Diversity Committee, a group of 15 employees who actively extend the giving of the company through their volunteer partnerships with arts organizations throughout the Twin Cities. For many years, Travelers has taken great pride in supporting small, medium, and large arts organizations of various disciplines.

The Regional Funder Award recognizes a local funding organization that has evidenced leadership and has provided sustained outstanding support of theatre(s) in the region in which the conference is being
held. This award honors a funder in a different region each time it is given, as the conference location rotates. The 2007 award will honor a funder based in the MidWestern region of the United States. Previous Recipients: 2006: Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund; 2005: ArtsFund (Seattle, WA); 2003: Jerome Foundation.

TCG Theatre Practitioner Award

Elizabeth LeCompte

Accepted by: Joel Bassin, Manager, The Wooster Group
Elizabeth LeCompte is a founding member of The Wooster Group. Since 1975, LeCompte has constructed, with the members and associates of The Wooster Group, eighteen multimedia theater pieces, including the trilogy Three Places in Rhode Island, consisting of Sakonnet Point (1975), Rumstick Road (1977), and Nayatt School (1978); the epilogue to the trilogy, Point Judith (1979); a second trilogy, The Road to Immortality,consisting of Route 1 & 9 (1981), L.S.D. (...Just the High Points...) (1984), and Frank Dell’s The Temptation of St. Antony (1987); North Atlantic (1984); Brace Up!(1991/2003),based on Chekhov’s Three Sisters; Fish Story (1994);
The Emperor Jones (1993) and The Hairy Ape (1995)
by Eugene O’Neill; House/Lights (1999), based on Gertrude Stein’s Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights;To You, The Birdie! (Phèdre) (2002), from the play by Jean Racine; Poor Theater (2004); Who’s your DADA?! (2006), commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art to close its Dada exhibition; Hamlet (2007), by William Shakespeare; and the opera La Didone (2007) by Francesco Cavalli and Giovan Francesco Busenello. She has created seven film, video and
DVD works and choreographed four short dance pieces. LeCompte and the Group were recently commissioned to create an installation for the 2008 opening of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her numerous honors and awards include a NEA Distinguished Artists Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement in American Theater, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture.

TCG Theatre Practitioner Award

Luis Valdez

Presented by: Olga Sanchez, Co-Artistic Director,Miracle Theatre Group
Luis Valdez is regarded as one of the most important and influential American playwrights living today. He founded the internationally renowned, Obie award winning theater company, El Teatro Campesino(The Farm Workers’ Theater) in 1965 in the heat of the United
Farm Workers (UFW) struggle. It is the longest running Chicano theatre in the United States. His involvement with Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the early Chicano Movement left an indelible mark on his work even after he left the UFW in 1967: his early actos Las Dos Caras del Patroncito and Quinta Temporada (short plays written to encourage campesinos to leave the fields and join the UFW); his mitos (mythic plays) Bernabe and La Carpa de los Rasquachi; his examinations of Chicano urban life inI Don’t Have to Show You No Stinkin’ Badges; his re-visioning of classic Mexican folktales in Corridos; his exploration of his own Indigenous Yaqui roots in Mummified Deer andZoot Suit, the first Chicano play on Broadway and the first
Chicano major feature film. Valdez’s numerous feature film and television credits include La Bamba starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Cisco Kid starting Jimmy Smits and Cheech Marin and Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolutionstarring Linda Ronstadt. His latest anthology Mummified Deer and Other Plays was recently published by Arte Público Press. Valdez has taught at many universities and was on the founding faculty at CSU Monterey Bay. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from several universities including his alma mater, San Jose State University. Valdez’s hard work and long creative career have won him countless awards including numerous LA Drama Critics Awards,
Dramalogue Awards, Bay Area Critics Awards, the prestigious George Peabody Award for excellence in television, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, the Governor’s Award for the California Arts Council, and Mexico’s prestigious Águila Azteca Award given to individuals whose work promotes cultural excellence and exchange between the US and Mexico. In April, 2007, Valcez was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The Theatre Practitioner Award was also given in a previous form as the Zeisler Award. It recognizes an individual - artist or administrator, institutionally affiliated or unaffiliated - whose
work in the American theatre has evidenced exemplary achievement over time and who has contributed significantly to the development of the larger field. While the award was originally designed to honor an individual, nominations for an ensemble, collective or partnership will be considered in cases in which joint/collective contribution makes it difficult to pinpoint the primacy of a single
individual. Recipients include: Woodie King, Jr., Zelda Fichandler,Lloyd Richards, Ming Cho Lee, Ellen Stewart, Maria Irene Fornes,Wiliam Swetland.

Peter Zeisler Memorial Award

The Foundry Theatre

Presented by: Bruce Allardice, Managing Director,Ping Chong and Company
Accepted by: Melanie Joseph, Producing Artistic Director, The Foundry Theatre
Established in 1994 by producing artistic director Melanie Joseph
and board member Cornel West, The Foundry Theatre aspires to assemble
a community of artists with revolutionary ideas for the theatre and the world in which it is situated. Now an artistic producing collective that includes co-producers Anne Erbe and Sunder Ganglani, the Foundry is an ongoing performance of ideas – created by new theatre works and public dialogue events—which invite as many people as possible to consider what it means to be citizens of a world that must be changed.
The Foundry commissions, develops and premieres new works, working collaboratively on their long-term development with various ensembles of artists. Among their productions are works by Kirk Lynn (Major Bang), Carl Hancock Rux Talk), Alice Tuan (The Roaring Girle), Rinde Eckert (And God Created Great Whales),W. David Hancock (Deviant Craft; The Race of the Ark Tattoo;The Convention of Cartography) and Moscow’s Kama Ginkas(K.I. From Crime). Foundry productions continue to tour nationally and internationally and have been recognized with 8 Obie Awards and 3 Drama Desk nominations for unique theatrical experience.
In addition, the Foundry hosts public dialogues which regularly bring artists together with thinkers in other fields to investigate the social and political workings of a changing polis. These events in tandem with their artistic output were recognized with a special Obie Award in 2001, citing the company for “creating new,envelope-pushing work and taking on some of the thorniest issues of the world we inhabit.”

The Peter Zeisler Memorial Award recognizes an individual or organization whose work exemplifies innovative or untraditional practices, is dedicated to the freedom of expression and has not yet been recognized in the national field for this work. Previous
recipient: 2006: Will Power.

Each TCG member theatre may make one nomination for each award category.

Please check back in fall 2007 for information on how to nominate for the 2008 awards.
For online forms, please click on the title of each award.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Jenni Werner, National Conference Director, 212-609-5900.

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