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Richard and Sharon Jenkins to Receive Trinity Rep's 2014 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement; Ceremony Set for 6/9

Trinity Rep announced today that former artistic director and Academy-award nominated film, stage and TV actor Richard Jenkins and his wife Director/Choreographer Sharon Jenkins will be honored with the 2014 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. The theater also announced that nationally known dance educator and choreographer Mary Paula Hunter will receive the 2014 Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts. The 18th annual Pell Awards will be held on Monday, June 9, 2014 at Trinity Rep with a reception to follow next door at the Providence Public Library.

Richard L. Bready Artistic Director Curt Columbus is thrilled to award this year's Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Pell Award the couple. "As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary season, it was especially important to all of us to honor Richard and Sharon Jenkins for their combined body of work. They have been transformational figures in the history of Trinity Rep. Their work, both onstage and off, has influenced how audiences have looked at theater; from Shakespeare to American classics to new work to musicals, they both have made theater that is immediate, beautiful, and bold." He goes on to add, "Their commitment to community and place make them exceptional recipients in the spirit of the great Senator Claiborne Pell."

The theater's annual gala event will be co-chaired by Clay Pell and Michelle Kwan alongside Barbara and Larry Schoenfeld. Mrs. Nuala Pell will serve as the event's honorary chair. Together with business, political and social leaders, guests at this creative black tie affair will mix, mingle, and enjoy delicious food and desserts provided by Russell Morin Fine Catering.

Individual tickets to the full event are $500; a limited number of individual tickets to the ceremony and post-show reception are $250, and corporate sponsorships are available. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Trinity Rep at (401) 453-9237. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Trinity Rep's artistic programs.

The Pell Awards honor Senator Claiborne Pell and recognize artistic excellence in Rhode Island and the New England region as well as on the national level. Throughout his life, Senator Pell worked to support the arts and provide new opportunities for artists. He sponsored the landmark legislation that established the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities in 1965, and chaired the Senate Education and Arts subcommittee.

Former Trinity Rep artistic director Richard Jenkins, nominated for a best actor Oscar in 2007 for his performance in The Visitor, has found great success in film and television. The 2014 Pell Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts honoree is perhaps best known for his patriarchal role on HBO series Six Feet Under, he is frequently seen in films by the Cohen brothers and David O. Russell.

Richard Jenkins was a Trinity Rep acting company member for 14 seasons, starting in 1970. He served as artistic director for four seasons (1990-1994) and directed numerous productions during that time. Richard has appeared in over 60 feature films, and has been nominated for three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Independent Spirit Awards, a Critics Choice Award, a Gotham Award, and won a Satellite Award as well as an Academy Award nomination for his performance in The Visitor. In 2014, he can be seen in the film God's Pocket with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Trinity Rep's own Peter Gerety, as well as appearing opposite Frances McDormand in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge.

Fellow 2014 Pell Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts honoree Sharon Jenkins has been a choreographer at Trinity Rep for over 40 years, where she has worked with artistic directors Adrian Hall, Richard Jenkins, Amanda Dehnert, Oskar Eustis, and Curt Columbus. She has choreographed The Music Man, Annie, West Side Story, The Fantasticks, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Cabaret, and Camelot. Sharon spent 20 years as the dance director at Hope Arts Magnet School in Providence, 15 years as a dance specialist with the RI State Council on the Arts, 10 years as a dancer with RI Dance Rep, and 10 years as choreographer for The Arabella Project. In addition to her work at Trinity Rep, Ms. Jenkins has worked at Long Wharf Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Center Stage, South Coast Rep and was the choreographer for Paramount Pictures feature School Ties.

2014 Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts honoree Mary Paula Hunter is a well known educator, performance artist and choreographer. Her work is often text-based and always quirky, emotional, and rooted in her own neuroses. Dance Magazine's, Julinda Lewis wrote that Hunter's works " make you feel as if you've crossed into a time zone where human motion follows laws you've never learned and may never understand." Hunter is the artistic director of JUMP!, where she says she found her calling in the training of young dance artists. JUMP!'s original mission, to develop choreographic talent, has expanded and the company now produces a full season of innovative dance work, produced by its members. Hunter, a long-time choreographer and performer with a M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Michigan, trains dancers at The East Side Ballet Studio and has taught dance at many colleges including Holy Cross, Hamilton College, RISD, and Brown. She curated the New York summer Dance Festival Summer in the Square, and continues to perform as a solo artist.

Previous Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts honorees include Jane Alexander, Kate Burton, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Viola Davis, Olympia Dukakis, Adrian Hall, Arthur Miller, Liza Minnelli, Toni Morrison, Robert Redford, Chita Rivera, Jason Robards, Maurice Sendak, Beverly Sills, Stephen Sondheim and Kevin Spacey. Past honorees for the Pell Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts include John Krasinski, Amy Morton and Trinity Rep's Resident Acting Company.

Past Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts honorees include John Benson, Howard BenTré, Dan Butterworth, Bob Colonna, Robert Coover, Umberto "Bert" Crenca, Richard Cumming, Ruth Frisch Dealy, Tony Estrella, Richard Fleischner, Peter Geisser, Malcolm Grear, Michael Harper, Bunny Harvey, Dorothy Jungels & the Everett Dance Theatre, George Kent, Eugene Lee, David Macaulay, Salvatore Mancini, Dave McKenna, Barbara Meek, Denny Moers, Timothy Philbrick, Duke Robillard, Thomas Sgouros, Sr., Consuelo Sherba, Gretchen Dow Simpson, Maria Spacagna, Judith Lynn Stillman, Chris Van Allsburg, Paula Vogel, Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop, William Warner, Rose Weaver, Steven Weinberg, and Toots Zynsky.

Among those honorees awarded the Pell Award/Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in/to the Arts are Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., Adrian Hall, P. William Hutchinson, Virginia Lynch, Lowry Marshall, Martha Douglas-Osmundson and Elaine Foster Perry.

The Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in Arts has been awarded to Joseph A. Chazan, M.D., Mihailo "Misha" Djuric, Roger Mandle, Senator Claiborne Pell, George Wein, J.L. "Lynn" Singleton, and the Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in Arts Education to Ruth J. Simmons. Additionally, past recipients of the New England Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts were Brian Dennehy, Julie Harris, Lloyd Richards, Gunther Schuller, and John Updike.

The State Theater of Rhode Island, Trinity Repertory Company is now celebrating its 50th Anniversary Season. Since its founding in 1963, Trinity Repertory Company has been one of the most respected regional theaters in the country. Featuring the last permanent resident acting company in America, Trinity Rep presents a balance of world premiere, contemporary, and classic works for an estimated annual audience of approximately 145,000. In its 50-year history, the theater has produced 62 world premieres, mounted national and international tours, and, through its MFA program, trained hundreds of new actors and directors. This season marks the 46th year of Project Discovery, Trinity Rep's pioneering educational outreach program. Last season, Trinity Rep's educational programs reached over 16,000 Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut students through matinees as well as in-school residencies and workshops. Brown University/Trinity Rep offers professional training for actors and directors in a three-year MFA program. The2013-2014 season concludes with the world premiere of Veronica Meadows by Stephen Thorne and A Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard. Subscriptions are now on sale for Trinity Rep's 2014-2015 season, which includes the world premiere Curt Columbus' translation of Ivanov by Anton Chekhov, Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon, Middletown by Will Eno, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, A Flea in Her Ear by Georges Feydeau and the world premiere of Melancholy Play: a new chamber musical by Sarah Ruhl with music by Todd Almond. For more information, call the box office at (401) 351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep's website at

Pictured: 2014 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts honorees Richard and Sharon Jenkins. Photo by Michael Guy.

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