SDCF Announces Fichandler Award Winner And Finalists
Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), the not-for-profit foundation affiliated with Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), has announced the winner and three finalists for the annual Zelda Fichandler Award. The award will be presented at an invitation-only event on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 in New York City. The Fichandler Award recognizes directors and choreographers who have demonstrated great accomplishment to-date with singular creativity and deep investment in a particular community or region, and is named for Zelda Fichandler, the founding artistic director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. This year's Fichandler Award focused on directors and choreographers from the central region of the United States.
The 2019 Zelda Fichandler Award will be presented to winner Marcela Lorca, Artistic Director of Ten Thousand Things Theater Company in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she has recently directed The Winter's Tale, The Sins of Sor Juana and Into The Woods. Other recent Twin Cities credits include La Pasión Según San Marcos with Minnesota Orchestra, and Disgraced at the Guthrie Theater, McCarter Theatre Center and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Previously she directed The Count of Montecristo at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Scorched at Syracuse Stage, Caroline; Or Change at The Guthrie Theater and Syracuse Stage, and Crimes of the Heart, The Burial at Thebes, and The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde at the Guthrie Theater.
Upcoming productions this season are Thunder Knocking on the Door for Ten Thousand Things and Miss You Like Hell at Park Square Theater in St Paul, MN. Lorca was a Founding Member of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program and of The Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training, a national summer intensive for MFA students. As Head of Movement, she developed original curriculum, taught these programs, and created a novel approach to acting training. Her technique, Lorca Movement, integrates acting, voice, and movement. Previously she worked as Movement Director, Choreographer, and Director of Company Development for the Guthrie Theater, where she choreographed over 20 productions and coached movement for over 150 plays. She has worked at many regional theaters in the US as well as the Dominican Republic, Chile, Brazil and Europe.
The selection committee for the Fichandler Award was chaired by director Lisa Portes, and included directors Justin Emeka and Joanie Schultz, and director-choreographer Ken Roberson. In a statement, Portes shared, "This is the first time in Fichandler history that the award is going to a director-choreographer! Given that SDCF is the Directors and Choreographers Foundation, honoring Marcela Lorca, who creates work in both disciplines (often at the same time) feels like a perfect fit. Moreover, Marcela's nearly three decade commitment to the Twin Cities as an educator, artist and leader who has consistently opened doors to a broad range of artists and aesthetics makes her exactly the kind of regional changemaker the Zelda Fichandler award is meant to honor."
Rick Dildine, Ron OJ Parson, and Blake Robison were all named as finalists. Rick Dildine is the Artistic Director of Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF). He oversees all artistic programming and sets the creative vision for ASF, one of the largest Shakespeare festivals in the country. In 2018, he launched ASF's largest commissioning endeavor to date with the "State of the South" tour and New Southern Canon Project. Directing credits for ASF include Romeo & Juliet, The Sound of Music, Every Brilliant Thing, Steel Magnolias, I & You, and Alabama Story. Previously he was Artistic Director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and has held leadership roles at About Face Theatre and Shakespeare & Company. He holds an MFA from Brown University/Trinity Rep.
Ron OJ Parson is a Resident Artist at Court Theatre in Chicago, and Co-Founder and Former Artistic Director of The Onyx Theatre Ensemble of Chicago. Ron is a Company Member of Timeline Theatre, and an associate artist at Teatro Vista and Writers Theatre. Ron has directed work at many venerable theaters in Chicago, including Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Northlight Theatre, and Congo Square. Regional credits include Signature Theatre (New York), Kansas City Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Pittsburgh Public Theater, and Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Blake Robison is in his eighth season as artistic director of the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Since his arrival, he has created the Playhouse's associate artist program and embraced its tradition of new work, with an ongoing commitment to produce culturally diverse and multigenerational works. At the Playhouse, he directed the world premiere of Karen Zacarias' Native Gardens and commissioned new works from Deborah Zoe Laufer, Theresa Rebeck, Keith Josef Adkins, and Universes. Other directing credits include productions at the Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and PlayMaker's Repertory Company.
Established in 2009, the Zelda Fichandler Award is SDC Foundation's first award devoted to regional theatre. With this award, SDC Foundation acknowledges the profound impact directors and choreographers of regional theatre have on the field, transforming the national arts landscape with their unique, creative work and deep investment in local communities. The Fichandler Award is given regionally on a rotating basis. In 2019, it will be awarded to artists who have made, and who will continue to make, a significant contribution to their community through extraordinary work in theatre in the Central region of the United States, defined by SDCF as Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. The Fichandler Award recipient will receive an unrestricted award of $5,000 from SDC Foundation.