Jackie Taylor, the Founder and Executive Director of Chicago's Black Ensemble Theater, has been named the recipient of Actors' Equity Association's (Equity) 2010 Rosetta LeNoire Award. The Award will be presented on May 3, 2010 as part of Equity's Central Regional Board Meeting at the Union's Chicago office.
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.
Ms. Taylor's cultural contributions to the city of Chicago, and to the country at large are numerous and diverse. She began the Black Ensemble Theater more than 30 years ago with a $1,200 loan. The company has now grown into a million-dollar cultural organization that has earned national recognition. She has produced and directed more than fifty-five plays, several of which have toured the country. Ms Taylor is also an accomplished playwright and actress. She has penned more than 100 plays and she uses her plays to cross cultural barriers, help eradicate ignorance and racism and celebrate the human spirit. As an actress Ms. Taylor has numerous stage credits, including The Other Cinderella, Sweet Mama's Stringbean and her one woman show All About Me. Among her film credits are Barbershop II, Hoodlum, To Sir With Love II, and Cooley High. In addition to her plays, Ms. Taylor has written thousands of poems, two books and a screenplay.
Ms. Taylor has received numerous awards for her works, including Chicagoan of the Year for Women in the Arts in 2004, making the Top 10 list of Chicago's 100 Most Powerful Women and one of The People of the Year by Screen Magazine. In October, 2007 she received a special Jeff Award for her contributions to the theater.
In addition to her accomplishments, Ms. Taylor has taught in the Chicago Public Schools for more than 30 years and has worked on special projects with the Illinois Art Council and Urban Gateways. She is the President of the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago and the past Vice President of the Chicago League of Theaters.