Monday, September 24, 2012
Jeffrey Marks–Media Chair, 312–606–0400 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or Merril Prager–Equity Chair, email@example.com
Special Jeff Award to Honor 100 Years of Actors’ Equity
September 24, 2012 - Chicago, IL. A Special Jeff Award will be presented to Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) at the Jeff Awards Ceremony, October 15, in recognition of their contributions to Chicagoland theatre. In addition to this year being their 100th anniversary, AEA was the original impetus in organizing the formation of a Chicago area theatre award program, which became the Jeff Awards.
Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers, is not only the protector of its members’ welfare in the workplace—ensuring fair compensation, a safe environment and dignity—but also an advocate of the arts in a free society. Over the past 100 years, Equity has waged principled fights to defend the rights and improve the conditions of performers discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, political beliefs or physical abilities.
The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee evolved in response to a search by Chicago actors for a way to honor local theatre talent. In 1968, the Midwest Advisory Committee of Actors' Equity appointed members to find a means of gaining recognition for actors working in the city. They developed an awards program based on merit, and it is now the model for many theatre awards programs nationwide.
“This is an immense honor for Actors’ Equity to receive a special Jeff Award in recognition of our Centennial,” said Dev Kennedy, Equity’s Central Regional Vice President. “Part of Equity’s mission is to foster the art of theater. To be acknowledged by the Chicago theatrical community in this way is very special to our members nationwide.”
The 44th Annual Jeff Awards ceremony honoring excellence in professional theatre produced within the immediate Chicago area will be held on Monday, October 15th, at Drury Lane Oakbrook, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. Ceremony Director Michael Weber says “This year’s ceremony promises to be as exciting as ever with 12 live performances from the nominated Best Productions and an inspiring tribute to the 100th Anniversary of Actors’ Equity Association.”
The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. With up to 52 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. Each year the Jeff Awards evaluates over 250 theatrical productions and holds two awards ceremonies. 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. The next Non-Equity awards ceremony will be held on June 3, 2013, at the Park West.