Ten Chimneys Foundation and Sarah Siddons Society Collaborate on New Exhibition

Ten Chimneys Foundation and Sarah Siddons Society Collaborate on New Exhibition

Ten Chimneys Foundation is proud to welcome guests to a new Exhibition in collaboration with Sarah Siddons Society.

Sarah Siddons Society was founded in 1952 with the mission to promote excellence in the theatre and to award scholarships to the next generation of theatre professionals. Each year the Society presents the Sarah Siddons Award to an actor for an outstanding performance in a Chicago theatrical production, though at times the award is given for the actor's body of work rather than a single performance. The Sarah Siddons Award has become one of the most prestigious awards given to stage actors. Many of its recipients over the last 60-plus years have had ties to Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne and their friends and associates.

Featured in the exhibit are photographs of nineteen of those awardees that demonstrate the lasting impact that the Lunts have had on the stage and by extension, cinema. The photos were taken by Ms. Betty Jeffreys of Stuart-Rodgers Photography, which is to date a thriving Chicago area landmark.

The exhibition is open to the public during Ten Chimneys regular tour hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.

About Sarah Siddons Society

Sixty-three years ago a group of dedicated Chicago theatergoers saw the film All About Eve and decided to create a version of the movie's fictional Sarah Siddons Society in Chicago. This film, which earned fourteen Oscar nominations, was the only one in Oscar history to receive four acting nominations-two for its leading ladies Bette Davis and Anne Baxter, and two for its supporting players Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter. In the film, Anne Baxter was awarded a statuette of the famous eighteenth-century Shakespearean actress Sarah Siddons. Seeing this tribute, those theatergoers not only created a real Sarah Siddons Society, but in 1952 they presented their first Acting Award-a replica of that same statuette used in All About Eve to Helen Hayes, one of America's premiere leading ladies, and a dear friend of the Lunts.

The list of Sarah Siddons Acting Award recipients reads like a Who's Who of Great American Actresses. Included in the list of honorees are Beatrice Lillie, Deborah Kerr, Shirley Booth, Geraldine Page, Myrna Loy, Carol Channing, Celeste Holm, Lauren Bacall, Bette Davis, Colleen Dewhurst, Angela Lansbury, Julie Harris, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Julie Andrews, Elaine Stritch, Chita Rivera, Patti LuPone, Barbara Cook, Audra McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth and Jessie Mueller.

The Sarah Siddons Society regularly recognizes Chicago's finest actresses with its Leading Lady Award including Laurie Metcalf, Lia Mortensen, Paula Scrofano, Kate Fry, Heidi Kettenring, Hollis Resnick, Barbara Robertson, Rondi Reed, Mary Beth Fisher, and E. Faye Butler, to name a few.

About Ten Chimneys

Ten Chimneys, the estate lovingly created by theatre legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, is open to the public as a world-class house museum and national resource for theatre, arts, and arts education. For more on our programs for the public (including tours) and our programs for American Theatre, please visit www.tenchimneys.org or call (262) 968-4110.

Photo: The unveiling of the Exhibition. From left: Dominic Missimi (Artistic Director at Sarah Siddons Society), Randy Bryant (President & CEO at Ten Chimneys Foundation, Martin Balogh (President at Sarah Siddons Society), Representative Scott Allen, Donna Meyer (Ten Chimneys Foundation Board Chair), Betty Jeffreys (Exhibition Photographer).

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