The annual TCG Awards are a vital part of acknowledging unyielding
commitment and artistic contributions to the theatre field. Since
2001 the TCG Awards have saluted extraordinary dedication to the
American theatre community, and we presented these honors
again at the 2008 TCG National Conference at the National Performing Arts
Convention in Denver.
TCG strives to cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and
achievements of the theatre field and promote a larger public understanding
of and appreciation for the theatre. It is up to the TCG community
to call our attention to artists and funders who are shaping the
theatre field and leading it into the future. Each TCG member theatre
was urged to nominate one honoree in each award category. There are
several criteria in thinking about nominations: TCG Awards to theatres
and theatre practitioners recognize sustained and exemplary service
to the larger field. TCG Awards to donors recognize sustained achievements,
reinforcing the importance of giving and encouraging others to emulate
noteworthy giving programs. A committee of TCG’s board of directors selected the award
recipients from the pool of nominees, and awards were presented
in Denver in June.
The corporate award recognizes a small, midsize or large company
that has evidenced national leadership and has provided sustained
outstanding support of theatre(s) in America. Recipients include:
Humana Inc./theHumana Foundation; Target; AT&T; Altria.
The world’s leading media and entertainment company, Time Warner recognizes that creativity and diversity are essential to the long-term success of its business and vital to the communities it serves. Through initiatives that broaden access to the arts, engage youth and nurture emerging and diverse voices, the company is committed to keeping the arts rich and accessible. In 2005, Time Warner launched its innovative partnership with Signature Theatre Company in New York, enabling them to offer every seat for $15. Signature saw its audience expand and broaden, with 37% of ticket buyers from underrepresented communities, and 50% new to the theatre. In addition, Time Warner’s other theatre initiatives include a commissioning program through Second Stage, the Public Writers Initiative, and the Diverse Voices Small Theatre Fund.
The Foundation Award recognizes a foundation that has evidenced
leadership and has provided sustained national outstanding support
of theatre in America. The previous recipients of this award include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Shubert Foundation, the Wallace Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.
This year’s recipient is the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Created by Harold Steinberg in 1986, the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust’s mission is to support and promote the American theatre as a vital part of our culture by nurturing American playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new plays and providing significant support to theatres across the country. In its 20-plus year history, the Trust has distributed over $40 million to more than 100 theatre organizations throughout America. The Trust funds the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, presented annually at the Humana Festival. The Trust recently created two new awards honoring American playwrights: the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award and the Steinberg Emerging Playwright Award.
The Regional Funder Award recognizes a local funding organization
that has evidenced leadership and has provided sustained outstanding
support of theatre(s) in the region in which the conference is being
held. The previous recipients in this category include: ArtsFund in Seattle, the Jerome Foundation in the midwest, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund and the Travelers Foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota. The award this year goes to the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District of Denver.
Denver’s unique program for providing public funding to scientific and cultural organizations was created by voters twenty years ago. Since then, the SCFD has distributed more than $500 million dollars to over 300 organizations in the metropolitan Denver community. The program is funded through retail sales, at 1 cent per $10 spent. Each year, for approximately $15 per person, the SCFD provides an exceptional return on the public’s investment to the tune of $40 million. The strength and health of the Denver scientific and cultural community is testament to the vision and support of this unique organization. Today, the SCFD is a vital part of the financial support for theatres, both large and small, in metropolitan Denver.
The Theatre Practitioner Award recognizes an individual whose work in the American
theatre has evidenced exemplary achievement over time and who has
contributed significantly to the development of the larger field.
The previous recipients include:
Elizabeth LeCompte, Luis Valdez, Woodie King, Jr., Zelda Fichandler,
Lloyd Richards, Ming Cho Lee, Ellen Stewart, Maria Irene Fornes,
William Swetland. This year’s Theatre Practitioner Award goes to René Buch and Gilberto Zaldívar.
In 1968, René Buch and Gilberto Zaldívar began their partnership in New York City. 40 years later, Repertorio Español continues to produce the finest Spanish-language theatre, maintain a professional company of artists, serve as a catalyst for cultural exchange and reach a broad audience. Today, the company serves more than 50,000 people annually and has introduced hundreds of thousands of New York City students to the rich heritage of Spanish-language theatre. Repertorio Español continues to provide opportunities to Spanish-speaking playwrights, directors and actors to see their work onstage. René and Gilberto’s work has earned wide recognition, including numerous national and regional awards.
René Buch is a native of Cuba, where he founded Havana’s Acción Teatral de Autores, a playwrights’ society, and the cultural organization Pro Arte de Oriente. He is a graduate of Havana University and Yale School of Drama. In addition to being artistic director at Repertorio Español, René has staged numerous operas and worked at The Old Globe and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Gilberto Zaldívar is also a native of Cuba, where he co-founded Teatro Arlequín in Havana. Under Gilberto’s leadership as executive director of Repertorio Español, the company has performed through the US, Latin America, Spain and Austria. Repertorio Español was the first Spanish-language company to be sponsored by the US Department of State on a Latin American tour, and the first company headed by Cuban Americans to perform in Cuba, in 1998.
The Peter Zeisler Memorial Award recognizes an individual or organization whose work reflects and promotes the ingenuity and artistic integrity that Peter Zeisler, late executive director of TCG, prized. The honorees exemplify pioneering practices in theatre, are dedicated to the freedom of expression and are unafraid of taking risks for the advancement of the art form. In honor of Peter’s uncanny ability to introduce talent to the rest of the field, the nominees have not been recognized nationally for their work. The previous recipients of this award are The Foundry Theatre and Will Power.
Cofounders of Universes, a Bronx-based performance ensemble that combines theatre, poetry, choreography and hip hop, Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz have dedicated themselves to exploring the urban experience through theatre. Universes’ piece Slanguage was presented at the 2003 TCG National Conference in Milwaukee. Their work can currently be seen at Curious Theatre Company here in Denver, where The Denver Project is running through June 21st. Universes – The Big Bang: Plays, Poetry and Process will be published by TCG Books in January 2009.
Steven Sapp is a playwright, director and performer whose work has been recognized with fellowships from the NEA, TCG, New Dramatists and the Arts and Business Council. Steve has worked with theatre artists such as Chay Yew, Will Power and Rha Goddess and has presented work at sites as varied as PS 122 and the New Victory Theatre in New York and Teatro Polski in Poznan, Poland.
Mildred Ruiz is a playwright, actress and vocalist. She is a board member of the National Peformance Network and the Network of Ensemble Theatres, and the recipient of fellowships from the NEA, TCG and the Ford Foundation. In addition to Universes, she and Steve Sapp cofounded The Poetic Theatre Ensemble, The UniverseCity Theater and the award-winning The Point DC.
If you have any questions about nominations, please contact
Jenni Werner, National Conference Director, 212-609-5900.
Back to Top