Six New York City Theaters Join Together to Celebrate the Life of Judith Champion

Theatres include Manhattan Theatre Club, Atlantic Theater Company, Lincoln Center Theater, The Public Theater, Second Stage Theater, and Signature Theatre.

By: Aug. 09, 2022
Six New York City Theaters Join Together to Celebrate the Life of Judith Champion
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Manhattan Theatre Club, Atlantic Theater Company, Lincoln Center Theater, The Public Theater, Second Stage Theater, and Signature Theatre mourn the passing of Judith Champion on July 28, 2022 after a long battle with breast cancer. In addition to being a successful architect and accomplished violinist, Judi was a longtime patron and dedicated supporter of the theatre, with strong ties to institutions across New York City and beyond.

Her commitment to contemporary writers and support of their work was extraordinary, and her legacy will include a tremendous contribution to the future of the American theatre through the major gifts she arranged in the final years of her life, which will allow for the creation of a large volume of new work by some of the most promising writers in the industry. As Judi made these gifts, she said, "Support what is most important to you, and one thing that is important to me is to nurture playwriting talent so that theatre flourishes for future generations."

"Judith Champion's important contribution to each of our theatres is already having a profound impact on our shared goals to support living playwrights' work and her legacy will continue to grow in the future. We mourn her loss and express our collective gratitude for her belief in and support of the values and goals to which we have been dedicated for all of our careers." -André Bishop, Oskar Eustis, Paige Evans, Lynne Meadow, Neil Pepe, Carole Rothman

Atlantic Theater Company - The Judith Champion Launch Commissioning Program offers early career playwrights support writing a new play and facilitating relationships in the theater industry. The generous gift from Judith Champion allows for the expansion of Atlantic's Launch Commission, whose recipients include Sanaz Toossi, Abby Rosebrock, Amy Staats, Paola Lázaro, and most recently, Nikki Massoud and Max Yu. Lázaro, Staats and Rosebrock have all received productions at Atlantic since their commissions. The inaugural Judith Champion Launch Commissioning Program writers are Matthew Capodicasa, Gloria Majule and Alex Riad.

Lincoln Center Theater - The Judith Champion Playwrights' Vision Fund at LCT3 is an endowment fund to help new playwrights who are taking part in LCT's LCT3 program. Judith Champion's Fund will provide designated yearly support to fulfill special artistic aspirations of LCT3 playwrights that require exceptional financial resources.

Manhattan Theatre Club - Launched in the 2022-23 season and fully supported by Judith Champion, the Judith Champion Playwrighting Fellowship provides artistic and financial resources to one playwright each season to write and develop a new commissioned play while in residence at MTC. Fellowship recipients participate in the life of the institution in a manner tailored to their strengths and interests. In addition to a commission, the recipient is provided with a living allowance, access to office and rehearsal space, a ticket stipend, and a developmental workshop of at least one play during their fellowship year. The inaugural Fellow is 2021 Pulitzer Prize finalist Zora Howard.

The Public Theater - Judith Champion's generous legacy of supporting the future of new play development at The Public Theater will be announced at a later date.

Second Stage Theater - Launched in spring of 2021, the Judith Champion New Voices Reading Series is Second Stage's first regular public-facing reading series and gives audiences the opportunity to hear new plays by up-and-coming writers. For each reading, writers work with a director, cast, and members of the Second Stage artistic team for a week, culminating in a public reading of the play. The most recent series took place at the Tony Kiser Theater in January 2022 and included: The Sensational Sea Mink-ettes by Vivian J.O. Barnes, Toros by Daniel Tejera, and Yellow Dream$ by Liqing Xu.

Signature Theatre - Signature Theatre is proud to be a recipient of a transformative legacy gift from Judith Champion for our newest residency program: LaunchPad. Signature's LaunchPad Residency moves boldly into the future to support talented early-career playwrights from historically underrepresented communities. This unique residency deepens Signature's mission to incubate and produce bodies of work by exceptional playwrights at all stages of their careers. LaunchPad provides holistic artistic support over three years, including two commissions, health insurance and office space, a workshop production, and a full production.

JUDITH CHAMPION was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and completed her secondary education in London. When she received a full scholarship to Juilliard to study Violin she and her mother moved to New York. After completing her studies at Juilliard, she went on to get a graduate degree in Architecture from Columbia University. Putting both sets of skills to use she founded the Architectural firm AFR Group and became a Patron of the Arts. Although Judi was a naturalized US Citizen, she considered herself a citizen of the world and traveled widely with her partner Mel Litoff. She loved animals and supported animal rights and protection projects in the U.S. and Africa.