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The Rosetta LeNoire Award

The San Francisco Mime Troupe receives AEA's 2014 Rosetta LeNoire Award

The San Francisco Mime Troupe has been named the recipient of AEA’s 2014 Rosetta LeNoire Award. The award was presented at the San Francisco Bay Area General Membership Meeting on Monday, April 28th, 2014 in San Francisco.

Mime Troupe and AEA Members Velina Brown, Michael Gene Sullivan, Keiko Shimosato and Lisa Hori-Garcia, who also represent the cast of the group’s upcoming summer production, were present to receive the award from AEA Executive Director Mary McColl and Western Regional Director Ralph Remington. 

The Rosetta LeNoire 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, theatre 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.

The Mime Troupe has — for over 50 years — been at the forefront of socially relevant theatre in the United States, putting forth dialog that focuses on issues of race, gender equality, class and economics as well as political, economic and social issues that affect our world. Their work uses social satire, comedy, music and Commedia dell’Arte to enlighten its audiences with humor to those serious issues that affect our daily lives to promote awareness and change. They began the tradition of shows in parks, which are always free, and open its yearly production on July 4th in San Francisco’s Dolores Park. 

The company, a collective, has been from its inception multiracial (before the word "multicultural" had entered the vernacular). The company’s work has provided both gender and “true” colorblind casting in each and every production. The Mime Troupe began its relationship with Actors Equity Association in 1991. As compared with other regional companies, even in this economic downturn, the troupe has been pro-union and committed to maintaining the number of contracts or salaries.

The work of the San Francisco Mime Troupe has been a stunning example of positive choices in theatre and has been recognized nationally when winning an Obie Award on numerous occasions, as well as the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Award for excellence in regional theatre.

L-R: Ralph Remington, Mary McColl; San Francisco Mime Troupe members: Keiko Shimosato, Lisa Hori-Garcia, Velina Brown, Michael Gene Sullivan, Councillor Doug Carfae
Credit: Ray Renati Photography


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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