Center Theatre Group Announces 2015 Richard E. Sherwood Award Finalists

by Jacob Coakley
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L-R: Sean Cawelti, Zakiyyah Alexander and Jenny Foldenauer, finalists for Center Theatre Group’s 2015 Richard E. Sherwood Award
Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture ImagingCenter Theatre Group has named the three finalists for the 2015 Richard E. Sherwood Award, which is designed to “nurture innovative, adventurous theatre artists of promise” with a $10,000 cash grant. The finalists are: Zakiyyah Alexander, a playwright; Sean Cawelti, founding artistic director of Rogue Artists Ensemble, a Los Angeles-based theatre company; and Jenny Foldenauer, a costume designer. The Sherwood Award will be presented at the Ovation Awards ceremony produced by LA Stage Alliance on November 2 at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse.

FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR 2015 RICHARD E. SHERWOOD AWARD

Center Theatre Group’s Award for Early Career L.A. Artists

Three finalists have been selected for Center Theatre Group’s 2015 Richard E. Sherwood Award.

The Sherwood Award provides financial support for emerging theatre artists living and working in Los Angeles. Created in memory of Richard E. Sherwood, the $10,000 award is designed to nurture innovative, adventurous theatre artists of promise.

Zakiyyah Alexander, Sean Cawelti and Jenny Foldenauer were selected out of a competitive group of applicants in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the Los Angeles theatrical landscape.

Zakiyyah Alexander is a playwright and graduate of the Yale School of Drama. Her work, which is created to make audiences experience the unexpected, has been produced both locally and throughout the country. Her most recent credits include “Under the Glass” at Chalk Repertory Theatre, “Yesterdays/Today” at Urban Theatre Movement, “you are here” at Ventura Theatre, and she is currently developing a musical based on the poetry of Sonia Sanchez. Zakiyyah is also a founding member of the advocacy group The Kilroys, which nominated a “pipeline” of 46 unproduced plays by female playwrights for suggested future productions.

Sean Cawelti is the Founding Artistic Director of Rogue Artists Ensemble, a Los Angeles-based theatre company that creates hyper-theatre through the innovative use of puppetry, masks and multimedia. A graduate of the University of California, Irvine, Cawelti has also collaborated with organizations throughout Los Angeles, including Cornerstone Theater Company, A Noise Within and The Theatre @ Boston Court. He has received numerous nominations for his work from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, LA Weekly and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards.

Jenny Foldenauer is a costume designer who creates a range of designs, from the fantastically surreal to modern world, with an eye toward budgetary restraint. Foldenauer attained her masters of fine arts in theatre design and production from the California Institute for the Arts. Her credits include “Everything You Touch” at The Theatre @ Boston Court (Ovation nominated for Costume Design), “Our Class” at Son of Semele and “Macbeth” at A Noise Within.

Since 1996, the Sherwood Award has rewarded emerging artists willing to push the boundaries of Los Angeles theatre. “If we are to have a dynamic theatre expressing the world of the 21st century, we must recognize and nourish the explorative artist, particularly in the struggle of the early years of a career,” said Dorothy Sherwood, wife of Richard E. Sherwood.

Richard E. Sherwood was a patron of the arts with a special appreciation for emerging artists who are in the vanguard of theatre. He was president and then chairman of the CTG Board of Directors from 1980 until his passing in 1993. The award is established as an endowed fund at CTG by his family, friends, colleagues and fellow board members, to honor Sherwood’s passionate commitment to theatre.

Previous Sherwood Award winners include Miranda Wright, John Sinner, Christopher Kuhl and Ann Closs-Farley, among others.

The Sherwood Award will be presented at the Ovation Awards ceremony produced by LA Stage Alliance on November 2nd at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse.