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The Rosetta LeNoire Award

Joseph Haj & The Guthrie Theater and Ten Thousand Things Theater Named Co-Recipients of 2017 Rosetta LeNoire Award

Equity award recognizes outstanding artistic contributions to the universality of the human experience in American Theatre.

Joseph Haj and the Guthrie Theater and Ten Thousand Things Theater (Michelle Hensley, artistic director) were co-recipients for the 2017 Rosetta LeNoire Award. The Award, established in 1988, recognizes outstanding artistic contributions to the universality of the human experience in American Theatre. The Award is given to an individual, theater or producing organization with an exemplary record in the hiring or promotion of people of color, women and actors with disabilities through diverse and inclusive casting. Equity Executive Director Mary McColl presented the award to Joseph Haj and the Guthrie Theater on August 11 and to Ten Thousand Things Theater on August 14.

“We are thrilled to be acknowledging, as co-winners of this year’s Rosetta LeNoire Award, the work of astounding Twin Cities theatre makers Joseph Haj and the Guthrie Theater and Ten Thousand Things Theater Company,” says Equity’s National Equal Employment Opportunity Chair Christine Toy Johnson. “Though at first glance they may seem like polar opposites as far as their approaches to the physical manifestations of their productions go, what is most moving to me is their shared profound commitment to creating extraordinary, diverse and inclusive theatre that expands the American landscape of storytelling and the ways in which they reach their communities.”

“For more than 20 years, Ten Thousand Things Theater has stood at the forefront of inclusive casting practices, creating vibrant, vital and deeply meaningful productions with artists that reflect the ever increasing diversity of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the entire state of Minnesota,” said EEO Committee Member Sid Solomon, who nominated the company. “Their mission of serving those with the least access to the arts has bettered the lives of both audiences and artists alike, and the Twin Cities theatre community is all the better for it. I can think of no more fitting tribute to Artistic Director Michelle Hensley than for Actors' Equity to bestow this important award upon TTT at the beginning of her final season with the company.

Johnson, who nominated Haj and the Guthrie, has worked at the Minnesota theater several times. “In his first two seasons as Artistic Director of the Guthrie, Joseph Haj has already transformed this world-class theater into a diverse and inclusive world-class theater through his shift in programming and his mandates to populate the theater’s casts, creative teams and behind-the-scenes staff with more women artists and artists of color,” says Johnson. “He is the kind of leader that we look towards when seeking to bolster our optimism about the future of the American theatre: someone who sets out to make change and then does it, with the utmost grace, generosity and kindness.”


Award pages:

Arizona Theatre Service
Diversity on Broadway

Established in 1988, the award was named in honor of the actress Rosetta LeNoire, who was also the first recipient, not only because of her body of work in the theatre - and her work with the then titled Actors' Equity Association's Ethnic Minorities Committee - but also for founding the AMAS Repertory Theatre Company

Recipients of the Rosetta LeNoire Award are:

Year Recipient
1989 Rosetta LeNoire
1990 Mixed Blood Theatre, Minneapolis
1991 Milwaukee Repertory Theatre
1992 Joseph Papp & the New York Shakespeare Festival
1993 Crossroads Theatre, New Brunswick
1994 Wynn Handman and The American Place Theatre
1995 Philip Rose
1996 Ellen Stewart, artistic director, La MaMa E.T.C.
1997 Walter J. Turnbull, Boys Choir of Harlem
1998 Sacramento Light Opera Association
1999 Dennis Zacek and Marcelle McVay, Victory Gardens Theatre
2000 Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston MA
2001 Sharon Jensen, The Non-Traditional Casting Project / Doug Mann, The Chicago Theatre Company
2002 Eric Krebs
2003 North Shore Music Theatre/Deaf West Theatre
2004 Kitty Lunn and Infinity Dance Theatre
2005 Woodie King, Jr.
2006 Mia Katigbak And National Asian-American Theatre Company
2007 Willie Boston
2008 Detroit Repertory Theatre
2009 Bethune Theatredanse
2010 Jackie Taylor
2011 Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
2012 Philadelphia's InterAct Theatre Company
2013 Christine Toy Johnson
2014 The San Francisco Mime Troupe
2015 Weston Playhouse Theatre Company
2016 E. Faye Butler
2017 Joseph Haj and the Guthrie Theater
Ten Thousand Things Theater

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