Michael Boyd to Be Honored at Theatre for a New Audience's Spring Gala, 5/7


Acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) Artistic Director Michael Boyd will receive the Samuel H. Scripps Award at Theatre for a New Audience's Spring Gala Celebrating Shakespeare's 448th Birthday. The celebration, Monday, May 7, is at the Powerhouse at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street.

Theodore C. Rogers, Chairman of the Board of Theatre for a New Audience 1993-2012, will receive the Theatre's first Life in Art Award. In 2000, MR. Rogers, along with founding artistic director Jeffrey Horowitz, dared to dream of building Theatre for a New Audience's first home – a modern classical theatre – in the BAM Cultural District in downtown Brooklyn. It is in construction and will open in fall 2013. MR. Rogers, who recently stepped down as Chairman, will remain on the Theatre's Board and continue as Chair of its Capital Campaign. Henry Christensen III is the new Chairman.

Mr. Boyd, who will be in New York to receive the Scripps, said, "As a great admirer of New York's classical theatre scene, and of Theatre for a New Audience's work in particular, I feel greatly honoured to be given the Samuel H. Scripps Award alongside the great writers, teachers and theatre-makers who have received it in the past."

Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham, who starred in Theatre for a New Audience's production of The Merchant of Venice directed by Darko Tresnjak – a production acclaimed in New York, on national tour and invited by Mr. Boyd to be part of the RSC's 2007 Complete Works Festival at Stratford-upon-Avon – is Master of Ceremonies.

The Samuel H. Scripps Award will be co-presented to Mr. Boyd by Alistair Macaulay (chief dance critic of The New York Times since 2007 and chief theatre critic of London's The Financial Times from 1994 to 2007), and James Shapiro (Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University).

The Life in Art Award will be co-presented by Tony Award-winning theatre and Academy Award-nominated film director Julie Taymor, along with playwright, director, and Olivier- and Tony-award winning actor Mark Rylance and his wife, film and Broadway composer Claire van Kampen. Mr. Rylance was the first artistic director of London's Shakespeare's Globe and Ms. van Kampen was the founding music director/composer in residence there. Mr. Rylance and Ms. Taymor are Theatre for a New Audience Board Members.

Established in 2005, the Samuel H. Scripps Award recognizes "Extraordinary Commitment to Promoting the Power of Language in Classic and Contemporary Theatre." The award is a sculpture of Shakespeare by world-renowned artist and graphic designer Milton Glaser. Prior recipients include Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal, Mark Rylance, Cicely Berry, C.B.E., Tony Kushner, Wallace Shawn, RoBert Woodruff and Robert Neff Williams.

Jeffrey Horowitz, Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre for a New Audience, explained, "Samuel H. Scripps, a member of our Board, enabled this Theatre to bring Shakespeare to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. We're honored to present this award to Michael Boyd, one of the finest artistic directors I've ever known."

Photo by RSC/Ellie Kurttz
Michael Boyd

"Who could have seen Michael Boyd's staging of Shakespeare's Histories and ever forget the recurrent motif of the father and son who take turns to do battle and to mourn each other?" said Mr. Macaulay. "In one battle scene amid Henry VI Part Three he interlocked them; a revelatory image of death-meets-life that I hope will haunt me to my own dying day."

Mr. Shapiro added, "Michael Boyd is one of the most inspired and inspiring individuals in the Shakespeare world. Watching him at work in rehearsals for his recent production of Macbeth was simply thrilling."

Theatre for a New Audience's Life in Art Award honors an individual whose support for theatre has set the standard for leadership and generosity, and whose example has inspired others to ensure that theatre remains a vibrant part of our cultural life. The award, a signed giclée print by Milton Glaser, is named after the autobiography of the great theatre artist, Constantin Stanislavski. Mark Rylance, in describing MR. Rogers, commented:

In 1993, TEd Rogers and I began our association with Theatre for a New Audience. I as Henry V. Ted as the new chairman. Like Henry, Ted has won many battles and gained much honor for the Theatre. Ted has led us across the water to a new home. Like Henry, Ted has never asked more of us than he was willing to risk himself. Like Henry, Ted moves amongst the powerful and dis-empowered. I for one will never forget Ted's encouragement and enthusiasm for my work as an actor and director, nor his deep love for Shakespeare and theatre.

"TEd Rogers is a giant," Ms. Taymor added. "He took Theatre for a New Audience by the scruff and said in a quietly booming giant voice, 'Let me HELP!' And then he squeezed the Theatre to his giant heart with total joy every step of the way. He has been there and all of us who have worked with him have been blessed."

The Gala Chairs for the evening are Henry Christensen III and John J. Kerr, Jr. The Gala corporate Lead Sponsor is Deloitte LLP. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and Loeb & Loeb LLP are Co-Sponsors. Mr. Christensen is Chairman of the Board of Theatre for a New Audience.

Samuel H. Scripps (1927–2007) was a visionary philanthropist who played a pivotal role in supporting theatre and dance. He made a leadership gift and named Theatre for a New Audience's main stage in its new home. Samuel Scripps also championed Shakespeare's Globe in London and provided leadership support to the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the American Dance Festival and the American Society for Eastern Arts.

Michael Boyd was appointed Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in July 2002 with a mission to reinvigorate the Company as an ensemble, and recommit to a socially engaged, contemporary and internationalist approach. Before joining the RSC, he was a founding Artistic Director of the Tron Theatre in Glasgow from 1985–1996. Under Mr. Boyd's leadership, the RSC staged The Complete Works Festival in 2006, performing all of Shakespeare's 37 plays, long poems and sonnets, with 30 visiting companies from across the world, which included Theatre for a New Audience's production of Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham, directed by Darko Tresnjak. From 2006–2008, Mr. Boyd staged Shakespeare's eight History plays in Stratford-upon-Avon and at The Roundhouse in London, winning many awards, including three Olivier Awards, the London Evening Standard Theatre Editor's Award and the TMA (Theatrical Management Association) Best Director Award. During his tenure, he led the RSC's successful transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, a $181.8 million project to bring actors and audiences closer together in a thrust stage auditorium. The new theatre is greatly loved and was shortlisted for the prestigious 2011 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize, winning both a RIBA Award and the RIBA Client of the Year Award. In summer 2011, he took an unprecedented RSC repertoire to New York's Lincoln Center Festival, performing seven Shakespeare plays in a unique reconstruction of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at the Park Avenue Amory. In 2012, the RSC will produce the World Shakespeare Festival for the London Olympics. Mr. Boyd's other productions with the RSC have included The Broken Heart, The Spanish Tragedy, Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, As You Like It, and Macbeth. In 2001 he won the Olivier Award for Best Director and the South Bank Show Award for his productions of Henry VI, Parts I,II,III and Richard III. In fall 2012, Mr. Boyd will direct an adaptation by Adrian Mitchell of Pushkin's epic novel, Boris Godunov, in the RSC's Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

In addition to his 19-year leadership of Theatre for a New Audience's Board, Theodore C. Rogers served as Chairman of the New York City Ballet for seven years in the period immediately following the death of George Balanchine. His additional Board and trustee service has included Lincoln Center, the New York Society Library, Poets and Writers, and the City Center for Music and Drama. He serves on the National Council for the American Theatre for the Theatre Communications Group. MR. Rogers is the recipient of the Municipal Art Society of New York's leadership award, and the Alliance for Arts and Business's achievement award. He is a member of the Grolier Club, the Links Club of New York, the Metropolitan Club of Washington DC, the Union Club of Cleveland and sits on the board of Governors of the Century Association. In 2009, MR. Rogers was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His is also a dedicated runner who has completed more than thirty consecutive New York City Marathons.

The evening will begin at 6:30 pm with a cocktail reception and silent auction and continues at 7:30 pm with a seated dinner. Live music will be provided by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Stars followed by presentations of the Samuel H. Scripps Award and the Life in Art Award. A live auction of unique donated items will be conducted by Nicholas D. Lowry, President and Principal Auctioneer of Swann Auction Galleries.

Individual tickets are $500, $1,000 and $1,500. Tables of ten are $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 (Co-Sponsorship level). To purchase tickets or a table, a portion of which is tax-deductible, contact Karen Hershey, 212-343-1920, khevents@aol.com. For more information, see the Theatre's website: http://www.tfana.org/support/annual-gala.

Theatre for a New Audience
Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience's mission is to develop and vitalize the performance and study of Shakespeare and classic drama. The Theatre is dedicated to the language and ideas of authors and produces Shakespeare along side other classic and contemporary plays by authors such as Harley Granville Barker, Edward Bond and Adrienne Kennedy. It has played Off and on Broadway and toured nationally and internationally.
The Theatre's current season began with Cymbeline performed by Fiasco Theater at the Barrow Street Theatre. It continued with the New York Premiere of Samuel Beckett's Fragments directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne; the first major New York revival of the Klezmer musical Shlemiel the First by National Medal of Arts recipient Robert Brustein, inspired by the short stories of Nobel Laureate author Isaac Bashevis Singer; the Off-Broadway premiere of John Ford's 1629 drama, The Broken Heart, staged by Selina Cartmell in her American debut; and Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Arin Arbus starring Maggie Siff and Andy Grotelueschen.

In 2001, Theatre for a New Audience became the first American theatre invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-Avon. Cymbeline, directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered at the RSC; in 2007, Theatre for a New Audience was invited to return to the RSC with The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham. In 2011, Mr. Abraham reprised his role as Shylock for a national tour.

The Theatre's productions have been honored with Tony, OBIE, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Lortel and Audelco awards and nominations and reach an audience diverse in age, economics and cultural background. The Theatre created and runs the largest program in the New York City Public Schools to introduce students to Shakespeare, and has served more than 123,000 students since the program began in 1984. With the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in 2011 it launched a summer Shakespeare Institute at Columbia University for 23 Public School teachers for across the country on the teaching of Shakespeare. In partnership with the NYC Department of Education it offers a free summer drama program for high school students. The Theatre's distinctive TFANA Talks discussion series for general audiences is free in conjunction with performances and its economically accessible ticket program includes the lowest reserved ticket price for youth in the city, $10 for any show, any time for those 25 years old and under and full time students of any age. In June, 2011, Theatre for a New Audience celebrated the groundbreaking for its first home, a center for Shakespeare and classic drama in downtown Brooklyn in the BAM Cultural District. The new theatre will open in fall 2013.

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