October 20, 2008 - Chicago, IL. Eileen Boevers, founder and recently retired Executive Artistic Director of Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park, received a Special Jeff Award at this year's Jeff Awards Ceremony on October 20, 2008. Mrs. Boevers has produced, directed, taught, performed and written for Apple Tree Theatre since its founding in 1983. During her tenure Apple Tree Theatre garnered 112 Jeff nominations and 28 Jeff Awards for excellence in Chicago area theatre. Further, she founded the Eileen Boevers' Performing Arts Workshop in 1970, where, employing Chicago's top theatre artists as teachers, she trained and developed a generation of theatre artists. She also founded the Traveling Troupe out of the Workshop, which has performed and traveled extensively and promoted Chicago as a center for producing new artists. Eileen also started Theatre for Young Audiences which presents stage adaptations of literature directly for state-mandated school curricula, with professional productions mounted across the Chicago area. She has been recognized by the "Chicago Tribune" Arts and Entertainment editors as "Chicagoan of the Year," by the Lake and McHenry County YWCA as a "Woman of Achievement," by the National Council of Jewish Women as a "Woman of Influence," and has received the Mayor's Award for the Arts, and the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award from the Illinois Humanities Council. She has been featured on WGN’s “Chicago’s Very Own” and was named to the North Shore Walk of Fame.
The 40th Annual Jeff Awards ceremony was held on Monday, October 20, at the NorthShoreCenter for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Boulevard.
The Awards Ceremony was directed by Michael Weber. The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. With up to 50 members representing a wide variety of backgrounds in theatre, the Jeff Awards is committed to celebrating the vitality of Chicago area theatre by recognizing excellence through its recommendations, awards and honors. The Jeff Awards fosters the artistic growth of area theatres and theatre artists and promotes educational opportunities, audience appreciation, and civic pride in the achievements of the theatre community. The Jeff Awards evaluates over 250 theatrical productions and holds two awards ceremonies annually. Originally chartered to recognize only Equity productions, the Jeff Awards established the Non-Equity Wing in 1973 to celebrate outstanding achievement in non-union theatre.