Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bianca Amato & Matthew Amendt Receive STC's Emery Battis Award

Joyce EbertEmery Battis (r) in 1981's Summerfolk

From our friends at the Shakespeare Theatre Company...

Shakespeare Theatre Company Names Emery Battis Award Honorees for 2014-15 Season

The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) congratulates this year’s recipients of the Emery Battis Award for Acting ExcellenceBianca Amato and Matthew Amendt. Since 2010, STC has recognized two actors per season who have demonstrated exceptional skill and technique on the stage.

Amato and Amendt were praised for their incredible performances as Amanda in Private Lives and Prince Hal in Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2, respectively. The awards will be presented Monday, November 3, 2014, at the opening night dinner for STC’s mainstage production, As You Like It, hosted by the Board of Trustees. They each will receive a $5,000 cash prize made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, along with a crystal sculpture commemorating their achievement.

Each season, a panel comprised of D.C. theatre critics, STC supporters and theatre professionals recommends two performers from the mainstage season to receive the esteemed Emery Battis Award. This award, named in honor of STC’s longtime friend and affiliated artist, the late Emery Battis, is presented to two actors whose performances are deemed especially noteworthy. All performers and shows within STC’s mainstage season are eligible for the award. Panelists nominate two actors each year who have given one of the season’s most impressive performances, and whose commitment to not only classical theatre, but also not-for-profit theatre, is unmatched.

During the 2013-2014 Season, audiences enjoyed many critically acclaimed performances on the stages of Sidney Harman Hall and the Lansburgh Theatre. The panel met and discussed the various possible awardees, which, as always, inspired a lively debate concerning this year’s pool of talented artists. In the end, it was Bianca Amato’s striking portrayal of the cunning and fiery Amanda in Private Lives and Matthew Amendt’s steely yet subtle Prince Hal in the Henry IV repertory that rose to the top of the list.

About the Honorees:
Matthew Amendt made his STC debut as Prince Hal in Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2. His Off-Broadway credits include Theatre for A New Audience’s Much Ado About Nothing and the title role in The Acting Company’s Henry V. Amendt received the 2013 Joe Dowling Fellow at Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland, as well as the Ivey Award for Best Emerging Artist. He received his BFA from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Acting Training Program, appearing in 13 productions at the Guthrie including the world premiere of The Great Gatsby, as well as His Girl Friday, The Home Place and Peer Gynt. He has also performed at Westport Country Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Seattle Rep, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, and others.

Bianca Amato’s Broadway credits include two Tom Stoppard originals: Arcadia  and The Coast of Utopia. Her off-Broadway credits include The Broken Heart at the Theatre for a New Audience, Trumpery at the Atlantic Theater Company, and Mr. Fox: A Rumination at the Signature Theatre. Regionally, she has performed at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in The Taming of the Shrew, Pittsburgh Public Theater in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and at the Guthrie Theatre in As You Like it, Pygmalion, Pride and Prejudice and Top Girls. Her international credits include the South African productions of Proof, Greek, Kindertransport, A Doll’s House  and Under Milk Wood. Her television credits include Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, Sex and the City, Isidingo: The Need, The Adventures of Sinbad and Gegen den Wind. Amato has narrated more than forty audio books and has received six Audiofile Awards and two Audie Awards. She graduated from University of Cape Town.

About the Shakespeare Theatre Company:
Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has become one of the nation’s leading theatre companies. Today, STC is synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Kahn and Managing Director Chris Jennings, STC’s innovative approach to Shakespeare and other classic playwrights has earned it the reputation as the nation’s premier classical theatre company. By focusing on works with profound themes, complex characters and poetic language written by Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the playwrights he influenced, the Company’s artistic mission is unique among theatre companies: to present theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights’ language and intentions while viewing their work through a 21st-century lens.

A leader in arts education, STC has a stable of initiatives that teach and excite learners of all ages, from school programs and acting classes to discussion series as well as accessible programs like the annual Free For All, one of STC’s most beloved annual traditions, allowing audiences to experience Shakespeare at no charge.

Located in our nation’s capital, STC performs in two theatres, the Lansburgh Theatre and Sidney Harman Hall in downtown Washington, D.C., creating a dynamic, cultural hub of activity that showcases STC as well as outstanding local performing arts groups and nationally renowned organizations. STC moved into the 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre in March 1992, after six years in residency in the Folger Library’s Elizabethan theatre. At that time the Penn Quarter neighborhood was not considered desirable by many; since then, STC has helped drive its revitalization. The 774-seat Sidney Harman Hall opened in October 2007.