Center for Puppetry Arts to receive Spirit of Suzi Award and seven local playwrights vie for Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award
The Suzi Bass Awards are proud to announce the Center for Puppetry Arts as the recipient of this year's "Spirit of Suzi" Award. The "Spirit of Suzi" Award is given to a person or organization that demonstrates the long-term and consistent contribution to Atlanta theatre that embodies the spirit of the late and much-loved actress Suzi Bass, for whom the Awards organization is named.
A true Atlanta treasure, the Center was founded in 1978 by puppeteer Vincent Anthony, who still serves as it senior executive. The first puppetry center in the United States, today it is the largest American organization solely dedicated to the art of puppet theater. Throughout its thirty-three years the Center for Puppetry Arts has focused it's mission through performances for both adults and children, hands-on and distance education and the world-famous Museum and collection. Dedicated to reaching all of the Metro Area, the Center provides almost 200,000 free and discounted tickets to underserved audiences each year.
The reknown of the Center brings much-needed attention to the Arts community of Atlanta. As a performance site for national and International Artists, the Center helps widen the artistic awareness of Atlantans as well as introduces a vibrant city to artists unfamiliar with our region. A focused emphasis on education through workshops, classes, and resources on puppetry, as well as diligence in providing interns experiences in puppetry and arts production make the Center a valuable source of learning for professionals and amateurs alike. Recognizing the importance of the Center, in 2007 the family of Jim Henson named it as the proposed repository for much of the master puppeteer's collection.
The Center maintains many arts affiliations and serves as headquarters of UNIMA-USA, the American branch of the international puppetry organization Union International de la Marionnette, the oldest theater organization in the world. The Suzi Bass Awards is pleased and honored to recognize such a valuable and vital organization.
The 2011 Atlanta theatre season shone with professional productions of work by seven local playwrights. One of them will receive the Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award at the 7th annual Suzi Awards Ceremony on Monday, November 7. The award, named after the primary founder of the organization, recognizes an Atlanta-based playwright whose work was produced by a professional Atlanta theatre in the preceding season. A committee of area educators, playwrights and theatre professionals read each of the seven plays and chose the recipient by weighted vote.
The ALLIANCE THEATRE produced the world premiere of The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years by novelist and playwright Pearl Cleage. Cleage's domestic comedy probed the world of African-American debutante societies in the deep South. Tom Key, Producing Artistic Director of Theatrical Outfit, brought another southern voice alive through his adaptation of the beloved novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. The play received its world premiere production at Theatrical Outfit and was directed by fellow GGM Award nominee, Richard Garner. Theatre in the Square commissioned and produced Stealing Dixie, by novelist and playwright Phillip DePoy, which related the famous North Georgia hijacking of the Confederate train engine "The General." Albatross, by Lee Nowell and produced by Actor's Express, proved that one couple's unfolding confessions can make for an unsettling evening. The Odyssey: A Journey Home is Richard Garner's second adaptation of classical works in recent years. Homer's epic, framed in the context of a modern warrior working through injury and stress to come "home" to his family, premiered as Georgia Shakespeare's fall play in 2010. Prolific young Atlanta playwright and journalist Topher Payne gave us Tokens of Affection, a modern comedy about love. Payne's play, produced by Georgia Ensemble Theatre, was that company's first foray into producing original work. Margaret Baldwin's play Night Blooms premiered at Horizon Theatre after development there and at Kennesaw University, where she is on faculty, and gave audiences another viewpoint on the tensions of the American south in the sixties.