NEW YORK CITY: Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), has given the 2016 Zelda Fichandler Award to Lisa Portes. The prize comes with $5,000 and recognizes an outstanding director or choreographer who has transformed the regional arts landscape.
“I am deeply honored to receive the 2016 Fichandler Award for the Central region,” said Portes in a statement. “Ms. Fichandler—a woman artist, producer, and leader dedicated to changing the very nature of the American theatre—has long been an inspiration to me. In everything I do, I seek to build in some small way upon the work she began in Washington, D.C., in 1950—to break ground, make room, and expand our understanding of what the American theatre can be.”
Steppenwolf Theatre Company artistic director Anna D. Shapiro will present the award to Portes on Oct. 30. The prize is named after director Zelda Fichandler, who passed away in July, and was the founder of Arena Stage and a pioneer in the resident theatre movement. The prize is given annually within rotating regions in the United States. Portes was selected out of 38 nominees in the Central region.
The selection committee also named two finalists: producing artistic director of Southern Rep Aimée Hayes and artistic director of Kansas City Repertory Theatre Eric Rosen. Casey Stangl chaired the committee, which included Kimberly Faith Hickman, Aditi Kapil, KJ Sanchez, and Roche Schulfer.
“With the recent passing of the legendary Zelda Fichandler, it was especially moving to serve on this year’s selection committee for the award that bears her name,” said Stangl in a statement. “The committee was presented with 38 outstanding nominees, demonstrating the breadth and depth of directors and choreographers in the Central Region—artistic directors, freelancers, and educators making impactful work in communities ranging from large cities to rural towns.”