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The Rosetta LeNoire Award

The Shakespeare Center Of Los Angeles Receives 2011 Rosetta Lenoire Award

On Friday April 8, 2011, the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles (SCLA) received AEA's 2011 Rosetta LeNoire Award. The Award was presented in a special ceremony to SCLA Founder and Artistic Director Ben Donenberg during the Western Membership meeting in Los Angeles.

The Rosetta LeNoire Award, established in 1988, recognizes outstanding artistic contributions to the universality of the human experience in American Theater. The Award is given to an individual, theater or producing organization with an exemplary record in the hiring or promotion of ethnic minorities, female actors and actors with disabilities through multi-racial and/or non-traditional casting.

Upon receiving the Award, Donenberg said: "To fulfill Shakespeare's vision for his plays, it's critical for our productions to hold the mirror up to the history, landscape and people Los Angeles. For us to fulfill our mission and provide full access to these plays, we must make artistic choices, particularly casting choices, that reflect the essence of our community. It's an amazing honor to receive this recognition from Equity and it's deeply appreciated."

In 1986, The Shakespeare Center, operating as Shakespeare Festival/LA, presented its first professional, union-contracted festival. Throughout its 25 year history, SCLA has created accessible theater that reflects the people, history and landscape of Los Angeles and follows a casting policy that reflects the rich diversity of Los Angeles. The SCLA demonstrates that such casting is critical to its mission by providing Actors of color the opportunity to perform in roles that are diverse and non-traditional while also providing the audience to an opportunity to see themselves reflected in and make meaningful connections to classical texts.

In addition to its stage productions, The Shakespeare Center offers The Will Power series that provide youth enrichment and engagement programs. The Will Power to Youth is an academic enrichment program that combines hands-on artistic experience with paid job training, specifically created to provide arts education to at-risk youth. The Will Power to Schools program provides middle and high school teachers innovative, proven methods that improve literacy, change the way they teach classical literature and makes Shakespeare accessible to urban public school students. The Will to Lead provides advanced leadership and job readiness training and The Will to Work places 5 to 10 alumni into internships with SCLA's mainstage/repertory actors and technicians.

Photo IDs (L-R): Mary Lou Westerfield, Western Regional Director; Michael Van Duzer, Business Rep; Jennifer Hazel, SCLA Board Member; Regina Cabrera, SCLA Director of Communications; Ben Donenberg, SCLA Artistic Director; Barbara Roberts, Councillor/Western EEO Chair; Mary McColl, AEA Executive Director


Award pages:

Arizona Theatre Service
Diversity on Broadway
Spirit of Diversity

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

Nominations Due for 2012 Rosetta LeNoire Award

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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