TBA Names 2016 Legacy Award Winners

by Jacob Coakley
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The 2016 Legacy Awards from Theatre Bay Area will be given out Dec. 5.
The 2016 Legacy Awards from Theatre Bay Area will be given out Dec. 5.

The Theatre Bay Area Legacy Awards annually honor an artist, a philanthrophist and an organization. This year the recipients will be: Robert Hurwitt, theatre practitioner and critic; the late philanthropists Leigh and Ivy Robinson (the award will be accepted by their niece, Deborah Robinson); and Cultural Odyssey, Idris Ackamoor and Rhodessa Jones, co-artistic directors. The awards will be given at a ceremony Dec. 5. 

THEATRE BAY AREA ANNOUNCES THE 2016 LEGACY AWARD RECIPIENTS:
CULTURAL ODYSSEY: IDRIS ACKAMOOR AND RHODESSA JONES, ROBERT HURWITT AND LEIGH AND IVY ROBINSON

LEGACY AWARDS TO BE PRESENTED AT THE 2016 TBA AWARDS CELEBRATION DECEMBER 5

San Francisco, CA -- Theatre Bay Area is pleased to announce the recipients of The 2016 Legacy Awards to be presented at The 2016 TBA Awards Celebration on Monday, December 5 at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater.

The TBA Legacy Awards honor extraordinary contributions to the Bay Area theatre community and reflect the recipient’s body of work over time or a significant milestone in their professional journey. Each year, the Legacy Awards committee selects one artist, one philanthropist, and one organization to receive a TBA Legacy Award. This year’s Legacy Award recipients are Cultural Odyssey Co-Artistic Directors Idris Ackamoor and Rhodessa Jones, former San Francisco Chronicle critic and theatre practitioner Robert Hurwitt, and late philanthropists Leigh and Ivy Robinson.

Cultural Odyssey, founded by Idris Ackamoor in 1979 and joined by Rhodessa Jones in 1983, develops community improvement projects throughout the Bay Area and around the world that model the interdisciplinary artistic culture Ackamoor surveyed during his travels to Africa. Their work combines music, theatre, and dance that is both responsive and influential to the needs of the community, including The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, which serves female inmates, ex-inmates, HIV positive women, and community participants. In addition, they have produced a variety of original, social activism-focused productions that tour throughout the United States, Africa, Japan, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Robert Hurwitt’s legacy spans more than 40 years both locally and nationally as a theatre critic, practitioner, and social advocate. Most recently, Hurwitt served for 15 years as the theatre critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, retiring in April 2016.  Raised in New York City and educated at NYU and U.C. Berkeley, Hurwitt has held a longstanding commitment to social progress, including a journey to Louisiana in 1964 as part of the Congress on Racial Equality, a stint performing with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and has worked throughout his career as an editor to highlight and advance underserved communities. Moreover, he has led the charge to erase the industry-wide separation between critic and practitioner, helping to build a solidified theatrical community in San Francisco.

Leigh and Ivy Robinson were entrepreneurs and theatre enthusiasts who have supported a number of Bay Area theatres for over 40 years. Their contributions lead to the development of the Theatre Bay Area Charles Dean Award, which recognizes outstanding work by a local actor, as well as philanthropic support to stages across the greater Bay Area.  The award is presented in memoriam and will be received by their niece Deborah Robinson.

ABOUT THE AWARDS CELEBRATION

The 2016 TBA Awards Celebration, now in its third year, honors the excellence of professionally-oriented theatre by offering a peer-based adjudication process and awards celebration. Throughout the year, TBA Awards adjudicators attend eligible productions throughout the Bay Area, critique the work, and recommend productions to the community at large. This year, over 300 adjudicators cast ballots for over 281 productions at 96 companies across three tiers based on operating budget and use of Actors Equity Association (the national actors union) talent.

Tickets for the Awards Celebration are now on sale.  Pricing ranges from $40-$150. Tickets may be purchased online at www.theatrebayarea.org/awardscelebration or through the A.C.T. box office at 415-749-2228.

ABOUT THEATRE BAY AREA

Theatre Bay Area, now in its 40th year, is one of the largest and most respected regional performing arts service organizations in the nation. Its membership is drawn from 11 Bay Area counties and includes 300 theatre companies and some 2,100 individual artists. The Bay Area is home to one of the most dynamic theatre communities in the country; the region boasts more theatre companies per capita than any other metropolitan area in the United States, houses the third largest community of Equity (union) actors, and premieres some 200 new plays each year.

Theatre Bay Area's mission is to unite, strengthen, promote and advance the theatre community in the San Francisco Bay Area, working on behalf of our conviction that the performing arts are an essential public good, critical to a healthy and truly democratic society, and invaluable as a source of personal enrichment and growth.