Katori Hall, David Edgar, Others to be Honored at 16th Otto Awards

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On Friday, February 7, members of the Awards Committee of the Otto René Castillo Awards for Political Theatre gathered at the Castillo Theatre on West 42nd Street on Friday evening to announce this year’s Otto Award honorees.

Members of the Awards Committee of the Otto René Castillo Awards for Political Theatre gathered at the Castillo Theatre on West 42nd Street on Friday evening to announce this year’s Otto Award honorees.

Honorees for the 16th annual awards celebration, which will be held on May 18, 2014, are:

Ping Chong & Company, founded in 1975 with the mission to create works of theater and art that explore the intersections of race, culture, history, art, media and technology in the modern world;

CollaborationTown, a company that creates original work in NYC that is relevant beyond traditional theater audiences and speaks to many of the most pressing contemporary social and political themes;

David Edgar, leading British playwright and the president of the Writers Guild of Great Britain, known for his adaptation The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby;

Katori Hall, a playwright/performer whose writings combine often harsh and vivid realities with imaginative explorations of possibilities, her award-winning play, The Mountaintop, has received productions all over the world;

E. Patrick Johnson, a scholar/artist who has performed nationally and internationally and has published widely in the area of race, gender, sexuality and performance;

Carlton and Maurice Turner, who together founded M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction) in the late 1990s, a flexible ensemble focused on collaborative creation in communities.

Past Otto Award honorees include: Laurie Anderson, Joseph Chaikin, Kathleen Chalfant, LAByrinth Theater Company, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Ntozake Shange, SITI Company, the Steppenwolf Theater, Melvin Van Peebles, Douglas Turner Ward, Robert Wilson and many others.

In addition to 2014 Otto honorees Ping Chong and Bruce Allardice of Ping Chong & Company, and Amanda Feldman, Geoffrey O’Donnell, Jordan Seavey and TJ Witham from Collaboration Town, present for the announcement were 35 guests. Among them were theatre artists, Charles Weldon of the Negro Ensemble Company, Rudolph Shaw of the Caribbean American Repertory Theatre, director Moshe Yassur, and past Otto honorees Richard Wesley, and Brad Burgess from the Living Theatre.

Said Diane Stiles (Executive Producer, Otto Awards), "The Otto Awards are all about relationships, about creating connections, a network — a movement. The politics of ‘political theatre’ are not defined by ideology or in providing answers. I venture to say that we here in this room today don’t have answers — and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing."

About the Otto Awards: The Otto Awards (Executive Producer: Diane Stiles) were founded in 1998 to recognize, support and connect theatre companies and artists engaged in creating political, experimental and community-based theatre. They have been awarded to 92 theatres and individual theatre artists from the United States, Austria, Canada, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Pakistan, Serbia and the United Kingdom. Visit http://www.castillo.org/otto-awards/.

About the Castillo Theatre: The Castillo Theatre (Artistic Director: Dan Friedman) was established in 1984 by a collective of political activist/artists and has produced over 175 productions, from multicultural and avant-garde plays to musical theatre and performance art. In each of its diverse productions, Castillo provides a creative environment in which people of all ages can produce and experience theatre that deals with contemporary and historical social issues. Castillo serves as a multi-racial home for Black theatre and since 2007 has enjoyed a producing partnership with Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre. Visit http://www.castillo.org/.

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Jessica Massad
All Stars Project
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