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National Theatre Conference Announces 2019 Awards

The annual conference will celebrate Robert O’Hara, Jeremy O. Harris, New Georges, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, and Deadria Harrington.

NEW YORK: The National Theatre Conference has announced the recipients of its 2019 awards. The five recipients will be honored at NTC’s annual meeting December 6-8 in New York City. In addition, NTC has named ten new members to its organization. 

The conference will include conversations with the awards recipients,  in addition to presentations and discussions about the theatre field.

“This year we continue the tradition that began in 1925 by honoring outstanding theatremakers from across the national spectrum,” said David Fuller, NTC president and co-producing artistic director of Brooklyn’s Theater 2020, in a statement.

NTC will  honor director and playwright Robert O’Hara as Person of the Year. New Georges, a New York theatre that produces work by women and gender nonconforming playwrights, will receive the Outstanding Theatre Award. Donnetta Lavinia Grays will receive the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award for her play Last Night and the Night Before. Producer Deadria Harrington will receive the Emerging Professional Award, as chosen by New Georges. Finally, playwright Jeremy O. Harris will receive the Paul Green Award for excellence in new professional theatre talent, as chosen by O’Hara. 

Additionally, NTC will name ten new members at their annual meeting: John Ammerman, Robert Caisley, Cheryl Faraone, Alexander Gelman, Leslie Ishii, Marya Sea Kaminski, Robert Ramirez, Robert Richmond, Ann M. Shanahan, and Nicole A. Watson.

Robert O’Hara.

O’Hara, who is currently directing Slave Play by O. Harris in previews on Broadway, received the NAACP Best Director award for his direction of Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed, as well as an Obie Award for his direction of the world premiere of In the Continuum by Gurira and Nikkole Salter. As a playwright, O’Hara received the Oppenheimer Award for Best New American Play for Insurrection: Holding History, which he also directed at Columbia University, as well as the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play for Antebellum. A graduate of Columbia University (MFA, directing), O’Hara is an adjunct professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and is the current Mellon Playwright in Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. 

New Georges serves the largest ongoing network of women and gender nonconforming theatre artists in New York. New Georges has produced 48 world or New York premieres of new American plays. The company was co-founded in 1992 by Susan Bernfield, who currently serves as artistic director and producer. 

Grays is a playwright and actor whose play Where We Stand will premiere in a co-production with WP Theater and Baltimore Center Stage in February. Her play Last Night and the Night Before premiered at Denver Center for the Performing Arts; it won the Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award and was named to the Kilroys List in 2017. Grays was the inaugural recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award and has had her work developed with New York Theatre Workshop and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, among others. NTC’s annual meeting will feature a reading of Last Night and the Night Before

Harrington is a New York-based producer and artist who is a member of the producing artistic leadership team of the Movement Theatre Company. Harrington has developed a variety of new works with the Movement and has produced works with WP Theater and New Georges, where she is currently associate director. She is a graduate of Vassar College (B.A.).

O. Harris’s Slave Play premiered at New York Theatre Workshop and is currently in previews on Broadway. Harris received the 2018 Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, and the Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences for Slave Play. His worked has been developed by Ars Nova, the New Group, Vineyard Theatre, and Playwrights Horizons, among others. He received Vineyard’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and was a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow. A graduate of Yale School of Drama (MFA, playwriting), Harris is a resident playwright with Colt Coeur in Brooklyn. 

Founded in 1925, NTC is limited to 150 leaders nationwide in commercial, nonprofit, and university fields. NTC is made up of  playwrights, directors, actors, producers, designers, dramaturgs, technicians, critics, fight directors, choreographers, historians, and teachers.

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