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Immigrant Theatre Artists Lauded With 2016 Vilcek Prizes

Blanka Zizka, Sarah Benson, Desdemona Chiang, and Yi Zhao are this year’s honorees.

Blanka Zizka. (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev)
Blanka Zizka. (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

NEW YORK CITY: The Vilcek Foundation has announced the winners of the annual Vilcek Prizes, which recognize immigrant contributions to the American arts and sciences. Each year the prizes focus on a different artistic discipline, and this year’s recipients were selected from the field of theatre.

Blanka Zizka, the founding artistic director of the Wilma Theater, is the recipient of the 2016 Vilcek Prize in theatre, and will receive $100,000.

In addition, the 2016 Vilcek Prize for creative promise in theatre, for immigrant artists 38 years of age or younger, has been awarded to three artists: director Desdemona Chiang, lighting designer Yi Zhao, and Sarah Benson, artistic director of Soho Repertory Theatre. They will each receive $50,000.  The winners will be honored at a ceremony in New York City in April 2016.

“Theatre is extraordinary in its ability to challenge the status quo,” said Marica Vilcek, vice president of the Vilcek Foundation, in a statement. “With the Vilcek Prizes in theatre, we recognize a bold group of immigrant artists whose vision is as original as it is unflinching.”

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