Marin Shakespeare Company's Lesley Currier Named 2017 Burbage Award Recipient

American Shakespeare Center (ASC) Co-Founder and Director of Mission Ralph Alan Cohen presented the 2017 Burbage Award to Lesley Currier, Founding Managing Director of Marin Shakespeare Company. The American Shakespeare Center presents the prestigious Burbage Award annually to a person whose work has advanced the love and enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare through the public production of his plays.

The Burbage Award is named for James Burbage, the man who erected the first of London's large outdoor theatres and later converted an old Dominican dining hall into the original Blackfriars Playhouse. The 2017 Burbage Award was presented at the ASC Annual Gala on September 23 at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. Lesley Currier is the founding Managing Director of Marin Shakespeare Company. Since 1989, she has produced award-winning summer productions, created education/outreach programs that serve over 4,000 students each year, and provided work for thousands of theatre artists. Lesley is the founder of Shakespeare at San Quentin, which gives inmates opportunities to study and perform Shakespeare.

She is past President of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America, served on Theatre Bay Area's Theatre Service Committee for six years, and has thrice served on grants panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007, Lesley was elected to the Marin Women's Hall of Fame. "Her leadership in the world of Shakespeare theatres, her contribution as the producer and a director for the joyful work that she mounts on the stage in San Rafael, and her year-round work with children and Shakespeare would by themselves make Lesley a worthy recipient of this award," said Cohen while presenting the award. "But to all of that Lesley has for more than a decade added the most remarkable example of applied Shakespeare that I know of; she started producing Shakespeare with the inmates of a nearby prison, San Quentin. So successful was that program that the state of California invited her to take it to eight of its prison facilities."

The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA, recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare's theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. The ASC Blackfriars Playhouse, the world's only re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor theatre, is open year-round for productions of classic plays, which have been hailed by The Washington Post as "shamelessly entertaining" and by The Boston Globe as "phenomenal...bursting with energy." Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at www.americanshakespearecenter.com.


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