Bill Rauch Awarded Zelda Fichlander Award by Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation

Bill Rauch Awarded Zelda Fichlander Award by Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation

Bill Rauch, Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is the 2012 recipient of The Zelda Fichandler Award recognizing an outstanding director or choreographer who is transforming the regional arts landscape through imaginative, brave work in theatre. The $5000 award, given by Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, heralds both accomplishment to date and promise for the future, and commends deep commitment to a community.

Bill Rauch is Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Prior to his appointment in 2006, Mr. Rauch completed a 20-year journey as co-founder and artistic director of Cornerstone Theater Company, where he directed over 40 productions, most of them in collaboration with diverse communities across the nation. Mr. Rauch has also directed at Lincoln Center, the Mark Taper Forum, the Guthrie, Arena Stage, Seattle Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Long Wharf, Portland Center Stage, Great Lakes Theater Festival, and he is an Associate Artist of South Coast Rep and Yale Rep.

A peer review committee selected Mr. Rauch from twenty-six nominees from the Western region of the United States. “As someone who has had a dynamic effect on the west coast region, both as an artistic director and a first class artist, this choice is entirely apt and completely fulfills the goals of this prestigious honor. Bill represents the very best of our union and our craft on so many different levels. It is a pleasure to know and to work with him, and to recognize his many achievements in this much deserved way,” notes Selection Committee Chair Sheldon Epps. The committee noted Rauch’s extraordinary transformation of the arts landscape in Los Angeles through his establishment and leadership of Cornerstone Theater Company and his great success in creating community and expanding diversity, both dramaturgically and among the company of artists, at OSF, one of the nation’s most visible theatres and, seemingly, the polar opposite of the smaller, nimble Cornerstone.

Upon hearing of his receiving this award, Mr. Rauch states, “Zelda Fichandler has been a role model throughout my career, as she is one of the great pioneers and most inspiring leaders in our field. Since moving to the vibrantly diverse Los Angeles with Cornerstone Theater Company over 20 years ago and now contributing to the kaleidoscopic work of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, as well as having collaborated with many of the West Coast’s most vital companies, I am especially proud to represent the Western region of our country with this award. I have tried to build and strengthen community wherever my work takes me; for this reason, my nomination and selection by my peers, my fellow union members, is all the more meaningful.”

The Committee chose to honor three finalists in addition to Mr. Rauch. The 2012 finalists are Loretta Greco for her ongoing work at Magic Theatre in San Francisco, Jane Jones of Book-It Repertory Theatre in Seattle, and Dámaso Rodriguez of Furious Theatre for his work in and around Los Angeles.

The award will be presented on Monday, November 12 at a private presentation in Los Angeles.

In establishing this award, named after Zelda Fichandler, a founder of the American regional theatre movement, SDCF recognizes the profound impact of the founders of regional theatre and honors their legacy. This award is given annually within rotating regions of the U.S. The Fichandler Award serves as a complement to the “Mr. Abbott” Award, which will next be presented to Jerry Mitchell in spring 2013 in recognition of lifetime achievement in theatre, and the Joe A. Callaway Award for excellence in direction and choreography, to be presented in New York on November 5. The three awards are the only awards given to theatre directors and choreographers by their peers. This year’s Selection Committee was comprised of professional directors and choreographers throughout the region: Sheldon Epps, Michael John Garces, David Ira Goldstein, Rick Lombardo, Lisa Peterson, Robin Lynn Smith, and Jane Unger.