Tony Award-winner Mark Rylance will be presented with the Samuel H. Scripps Award at Theatre for a New Audience’s Spring Gala Celebrating Shakespeare’s 445th Birthday. The celebration, Monday, May 11, will be held at The Powerhouse at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street. Juliet Rylance (Desdemona in Theatre for a New Audience’s 2009 Othello) and Christian Camargo (Title role in Theatre for a New Audience’s 2009 Hamlet) will be co-masters of ceremonies. Christine Baranski, two-time Tony Award-winning actor who starred with Mark Rylance in Boeing-Boeing on Broadway, will present the Scripps.
The Gala Chair is Dr. Robert Ascheim, a member of Theatre for a New Audience’s Board of Directors. The Gala corporate sponsor is Deloitte LLP. Theodore C. Rogers is Chairman of the Board of Theatre for a New Audience.
Established in 2005, the Samuel H. Scripps Award recognizes extraordinary commitment to promoting the power of language in classic and contemporary Theatre. The award is a sculpture of Shakespeare by Milton Glaser. Prior year recipients include Cicely Berry, O.B.E., author Tony Kushner, and author and actor Wallace Shawn.
Jeffrey Horowitz, Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre for a New Audience, explained “Samuel H. Scripps, a member of our Board, enabled this Theatre to bring Shakespeare to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. Mark Rylance is the first actor to receive the Scripps. We’re honored to present this to Mark, who has appeared at Theatre for a New Audience and theatres internationally in 48 productions of plays by Shakespeare and Shakespeare’s contemporaries playing roles as varied as Hamlet, Richard II, Macbeth, Romeo, Cleopatra, Benedick, Iago, Prospero, Olivia and Henry V.”
Mark Rylance, one of Britain’s greatest classical actors, trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (1978-1980) and received his first job at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre in 1980.
Mr. Rylance was the first Artistic Director of London’s Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre from 1996 to 2006 and is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He most recently played Robert In the original London production and the successful Broadway production of Boeing-Boeing, for which he won the 2008 Tony for Best Actor.
Mr. Rylance has a long association with Theatre for a New Audience: in 1993, he played King Henry in Henry V. The next year he directed As You Like It and played Touchstone. In 1997, he appeared in Two Gentlemen of Verona produced by Theatre for a New Audience in association with Shakespeare’s Globe. When Theatre for a New Audience and St. Ann’s Warehouse presented Shakespeare’s Globe’s production of Measure for Measure in 2006, Mr. Rylance played the Duke.
During his career Mr. Rylance has acted in 48 productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. His work with director Matthew Warchus includes Much Ado About Nothing, True West, Life (x) 3 and Mr. Rylance’s original play, The BIG Secret Live-I am Shakespeare-Webcam Daytime Chatroom Show.
Mr. Rylance’s film and television work includes The Government Inspector, in which he played Dr. David Kelly and won a BAFTA award for Best Actor; Leonardo, Loving, Love Lies Bleeding, The Grass Arena, Intimacy, Angels and Insects, Institute Benjamenta, Prospero’s Books, Hearts of Fire and The Other Boleyn Girl.
Samuel H. Scripps was a visionary philanthropist who played a pivotal role in supporting theatre and dance. For Theatre for a New Audience, Samuel Scripps made a leadership gift to enable the Theatre to expand its body of work in Shakespeare and classical drama. Samuel Scripps championed Shakespeare’s Globe in London. He has provided leadership support to BAM, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the American Dance Festival and the American Society for Eastern Arts.
The evening will begin at 6:30 pm with a cocktail reception and silent auction and continues at 7:30pm with a seated dinner. Live music will be provided by the Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Stars followed by presentation of the Samuel H. Scripps Award and live auction of unique donated items conducted by Alison Delaney of Christie’s.
Individual tickets are $500 to $1,500. Tables of ten are $5,000 to $25,000. To purchase tickets, a portion of which is tax-deductible, contact Karen Hershey at 212-343-1920.
Theatre for a New Audience
Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience’s mission is to help develop and vitalize the performance and study of Shakespeare and classical drama. The Theatre vigorously engages with Shakespeare and plays from the world repertoire. The Theatre has produced twenty-nine of the Bard’s plays with directors who include Sir Peter Hall, Mark Rylance, Bartlett Sher and Julie Taymor, and a diverse repertory by authors such as Harley Granville Barker, Edward Bond and Adrienne Kennedy. It has played on Broadway, toured nationally and internationally.
In 2001, Theatre for a New Audience became the first American theatre invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-Avon. Cymbeline directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered at the RSC and in 2007, Theatre for a New Audience was invited to return with The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham and directed by Darko Tresnjak.
The Theatre’s productions have been honored with Tony, OBIE, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Lortel and Audelco awards and nominations and reach an audience diverse in age, economics and cultural backgrounds. It created and runs the largest program in the New York City Public Schools for introducing students to Shakespeare which has served over 118,000 students. In conjunction with Columbia University, it runs a summer institute for NYC Public School teachers on the teaching of Shakespeare. It offers a free summer, drama program for high school students. The Theatre’s distinctive Talk Back series for general audiences is free in conjunction with performances and its economically accessible ticket program includes the lowest reserved ticket price for youths in the city, $10 for any show; any time for those 25 years old and under.