April Matthis Receives 2016 Ruth Maleczech Award Tonight
Actor/performer April Matthis is the recipient of the 2016 Ruth Maleczech Award, created last year to honor the memory of the legendary and beloved downtown actress and director who passed away in 2013. The award ceremony takes place tonight, July 26, at 7pm at the Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project gallery in the East Village.
Established by Mabou Mines, the pioneering theater company of which Maleczech was a founding member, the $5000 annual award was founded to call attention to and celebrate performers who embody the fearless daring with which Maleczech approached all her work. The award, the only award given by a theater company to a performer, is supported and sustained by The W Trust, The New Horizon Foundation and many generous individuals.
April Matthis, a former recipient of a New Dramatists Charles Bowden Award and an OBIE for Sustained Excellence of Performance, is well-known for her performances with Elevator Repair Service, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theater Workshop, Signature Theater, Yale Rep, among others. She will be presented with the "Ruthie" by Maleczech's daughter, the actress, choreographer and director Clove Galilee and her son, the writer and performer Lute Breuer.
The first annual "Ruthie" was awarded to Mary Shultz in 2015.
April Matthis is an actor and performer originally from Texarkana, TX. She has toured internationally as a member of Elevator Repair Service, and has been a fixture in the New York Theater scene for over fifteen years. Off-Broadway credits include: Signature Plays: Funnyhouse of a Negro (Signature Theatre); Antlia Pneumatica, IOWA (Playwrights Horizons);The Insurgents (Labyrinth); and The Sound & the Fury and Fondly, Collette Richland (at NYTW with ERS); On the Levee (LCT3); LEAR (Soho Rep); Melancholy Play (13P); The Sugar House at The Edge of the Wilderness (Ma-Yi); Dead City, Anna Bella Eema (New Georges). Regionally, April has appeared in productions at Yale Rep, the Humana Festival, The Magic Theater, as well as The Rude Mechs, Salvage Vanguard, and The Vortex, in Austin, TX, where she began her acting career. April's work in the dance world includes Ralph Lemon's Scaffold Room, (Walker Art Center, The Kitchen), as well as Deborah Hay's The Blues at the MoMA. Film/Video works includes "Wendell and the Lemon" (Slamfest 2015), "Black Card" (HBO/Cinemax), and video work for recording artist Anohni's HOPELESSNESS Tour. April is also the recipient of a New Dramatists Charles Bowden Award, as well as an OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance.
In the summer of 1970, a group of artists that included British actor David Warrilow, American actors/directors Lee Breuer, Ruth Maleczech, JoAnne Akalaitis, and composer Philip Glass retreated from New York City to Philip and JoAnne's summer house near Mabou Mines, Nova Scotia in Canada to create their first theater piece, Red Horse Animation. The company took the name "Mabou Mines" and has since become not only a collective of artists, but of ideas and approaches.
The company was born out of the influences and inspirations of Europe's seminal avant-garde theater collectives. Before arriving in New York in 1970, the would-be ensemble of Mabou Mines spent five years in Europe observing and studying the working methods of the Berliner Ensemble, the politics of the exiled Living Theater, and the demands of physical training with Jerzy Grotowski. Since that time, the company has created more than 100 works, toured to more than 1000 cities worldwide, and won more than 100 major awards.
Today the Company includes four Artistic Directors: Founding Artistic Director Lee Breuer; Producing Artistic Director Sharon Ann Fogarty; co-Artistic Directors Karen Evans Kandel and Terry O'Reilly; three Artistic Associates: Clove Galilee, David Neumann, and Maude Mitchell and many, many collaborators who work to tap into the mystery of language, the expressiveness of physical performance, and the abstraction of visual arts/media. The work is created with the intention of challenging "traditions" of conventional theater by applying formal and experimental concepts to performance.
Forty-five years after its founding, Mabou Mines is an established artist-driven experimental collective developing original works and re-imagined adaptations of classics through multi-disciplinary, technologically inventive collaborations among its members and a wide world of contemporary composers, writers, musicians, choreographers, puppeteers, visual artists and filmmakers. Using its signature long-term development process, artists have the time to create rich and complex productions that often include a conceptual underpinning and rely on a wide variety of performance styles - can be seen as a marriage between formalism and motivational acting. The result is that Mabou Mines' work embodies a ground breaking, cutting-edge aesthetic seeking to consistently surprise, challenge, engage and entertain.