Elizabeth McGovern Honored with William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre Tonight

The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has selected Academy Award nominee Elizabeth McGovern as the 2013 recipient of The William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre (Will Award). KPMG, LLP will be awarded the Sidney Harman Award for Philanthropy in the Arts. McGovern & KPMG, LLP will be honored at the Harman Center for the Arts Annual Gala, hosted by STC at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW), tonight, October 6, 2013.

The Will Award is an annual honor presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company to recognize an artist who has made a significant contribution to classical theatre in America. Past recipients include Annette Bening, Sir Ian McKellen, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Dame Judi Dench, Fiona Shaw, Ralph Fiennes, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Dame Maggie Smith, HAl Holbrook, Patrick Stewart, Sam Waterston, F. Murray Abraham, Lynn Redgrave, Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Kenneth Branagh, Christopher Plummer, Kevin Kline, the late Joseph Papp, and Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn.

On selecting Ms. McGovern, Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn said, "Elizabeth exemplifies the mastery that develops from the deep roots laid as a classically trained actor, evident in each of her roles on stage, film and television. While developing her craft at The Juilliard School at the young age of 19, Elizabeth was catapulted onto the big screen in Ordinary People, then a few years later in Ragtime, where she earned her first Academy Award nomination. However, big screen success has not kept her away from the great works of Shakespeare, Chekov and Shaw. The talent and love she exhibits for the classics have allowed her to develop her craft to a great level of artistic excellence. I am so pleased she will join the ranks of her Downton Abbey co-star, Dame Maggie Smith, as a recipient of The William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre."

The Sidney Harman Award for Philanthropy in the Arts honors those whose generosity has made a significant impact on the performing arts in our nation's capital. This year, the Company honors KPMG, LLP. For the past 25 years, the organization has provided generous support to the Shakespeare Theatre Company through sponsorships of mainstage shows (including the recently-closed, critically-acclaimed The Winter's Tale), previous Galas, and Will on the Hill, and as well as through a recent matching gift campaign. Unwavering commitment to the arts community stretches beyond STC, to organizations including our neighbors at The Kennedy Center and Ford's Theatre and beyond D.C.'s borders to the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and The National Theatre in London. As a leader in the business world, the commitment of KPMG, LLP to the arts community serves as a testament to its generosity and role as a leading arts advocate, and an example for other organizations.

The 2013 Gala is chaired by STC Trustee Nick Allard and Marla Allard. Nick Allard is the Dean of Brooklyn Law School and a Partner at Patton Boggs. Marla Allard is the host of Relatively Speaking.

The 2013 Gala After Hours will be co-chaired by Tyler Allard and Louisa and Nathan Imperiale. Gala After Hours is a young professionals, black-tie event hosted by Shakespeare Theatre Company in conjunction with the Harman Center for the Arts Annual Gala.

The evening will begin with a cocktail reception followed by the Gala performance, directed by STC Associate Director Alan Paul, and will close with dinner and dancing in an elegant setting at the National Building Museum. Individual tickets and tables to the Harman Center for the Arts Annual Gala range from $750 to $50,000. For further information about the Annual Gala, call Eric Bailey, Special Events Manager, at 202.547.3230 ext. 2330.

Elizabeth McGovern has been nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance as Cora, Countess of Grantham in the critically-acclaimed series Downton Abbey. Now entering its fourth season, the series has won multiple awards including Emmys, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs. In addition to Downton Abbey, she has appeared in numerous television programs including as Snow White in Faerie Tale Theatre, Beatrice-Joana/Helen Schwartz in Performance, Jessie Kent in If Not for You, Marguerite Blakeney/Lady Marguerite Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel, Edna Lee in The Flamingo Rising, HeLen Shaw in The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire, Laura Davis in Three Moons over Milford, Dr. Faith Sutton in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Elizabeth in Freezing, and Dame Celia Westholme in Agatha Christie's Poirot. She has appeared in numerous feature films including Ordinary People, directed by Robert Redford; Ragtime (Academy Award Nomination); Once Upon a Time in America; Johnny Handsome; Buffalo Soldiers; King of the Hill; She's Having a Baby; and Racing the Moon. McGovern has focused on classical theatre throughout her career, including Hamlet(Roundabout Theatre Company), A Midsummer Night's Dream (New York Shakespeare Festival), Three Sisters (Atlantic Theatre Company), and As You Like It (New York Shakespeare Festival). Additional U.S. credits include Love Letters (Broadway), My Sister in This House (Off Off Broadway), Ring Around The Moon (Arena Stage), Painting Churches (Off Broadway), A Map of the World (New York Shakespeare Festival), Aunt Dan and Lemon (Mark Taper Forum), When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout (South Coast Repertory), and Maids of Honour (Off Broadway). Since moving to London, McGovern's stage work has continued to include The Shawl (Arcola Theatre), Complicity (Old Vic),Aristo (Minerva Theatre), The Scarlet Letter (Minerva Theatre), Dinner With Friends (Hampstead Theatre), Three Days of Rain (Donmar Warehouse), Hurlyburly (Old Vic), and The Misanthrope (Young Vic). Elizabeth lives in England with her husband Simon Curtis, director of My Week with Marilyn.

Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has become one of the nation's leading theatre companies. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Managing Director Chris Jennings, STC's innovative approach to Shakespeare and other classic playwrights has earned it the reputation as the nation's premier classical theatre company. By focusing on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced, the Company's artistic mission is unique among theatre companies: to present theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights' language and intentions while viewing their work through a 21st-century lens.

A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and acting classes to discussion series as well as accessible programs like the annual Free For All, one of STC's most beloved annual traditions, allowing audiences to experience Shakespeare at no charge.

Located in our nation's capital, STC performs in two theatres, the Lansburgh Theatre and Sidney Harman Hall in downtown Washington, D.C., creating a dynamic, cultural hub of activity that showcases STC as well as outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. STC moved into the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre in March 1992, after six years in residency in the Folger Library's Elizabethan theatre. At that time the Penn Quarter neighborhood was not considered desirable by many; since then, STC has helped drive its revitalization. The 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall opened in October 2007.

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