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The Rosetta LeNoire Award

The 2016 Rosetta LeNoire Award goes to Equity's own E. Faye Butler

Upon studying E. Faye Butler’s Equity curriculum vitae it’s apparent that much of her union work has been rooted in finding and providing a voice to those in the minority. A current CRB non-Councillor and an Equity member since 1986, Butler has served on several committees, running the gauntlet of union activity — from LORT to Production to Dinner Theatre and Education and Outreach. She’s spent much of her time as a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Committee as a well as the EEO subcommittees Women’s, Senior Performers and Performers with Disabilities.

It’s her passion and dedication to diversity and opportunity that has made her a stand out to colleagues and peers, and it’s that same tireless spirit that garnered her Equity’s 2016 Rosetta LeNoire Award.

“I have been so inspired by the generous spirit of Ms. Butler,” said Equity member and New Orleans Liaison Committee Chair John Bostic, who nominated Butler for the award. “She has worked harder than anyone else I know to make producers and audiences see the value of casting people based on talent and not on pre-defined types.”

The 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 minorities, female actors and actors with disabilities through multi-racial and/or non-traditional casting.

Butler has been described as an ardent advocate for the empowerment of all theatre artists, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, age or disability. She is a well-recognized, outspoken arts innovator within the Chicago theatrical landscape, who is credited by numerous artistic leaders in the region for increasing the diversity seen on stages across the city – even the entire Central Region.

Throughout her longstanding tenure with Equity, Butler has been a part of several conversations, leading to influential union resolutions and significant events promoting diversity and awareness within the industry. Her tenacity for inclusion is valued and her professionalism and talent is respected.

“I want to honor Rosetta LeNoire’s legacy by passing forward all of my knowledge, time, energy and support to young artists of all diversities,” Butler said. “That was her greatest gift: mentoring, supporting and encouraging artists of color to find their place in our industry as actors, writers, directors and producers — collaborators. It’s our duty to pass our gifts forward; to make our community stronger and always be inclusive. I thank Ms. LeNoire for paving the way for so many artists to follow.”


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

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