Saturday, October 17, 2015

Shakespeare Theatre Company Names 2015 Emery Battis Award Recipients

From our friends at the Shakespeare Theatre Company...

The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) has announced this year’s recipients of the Emery Battis Award for Acting Excellence: Amber Iman and Amelia Pedlow. Since 2010, STC has recognized two actors per season who have demonstrated exceptional skill and technique on the stage.

Iman and Pedlow were chosen for their 2014–2015 Mainstage Season performances as the beleaguered serving wench Aldonza in Man of La Mancha and the poetry-obsessed Lucille in The Metromaniacs, respectively. The awards were presented on October 13, 2015, at the Opening Night dinner for the first show of STC’s new Mainstage Season, Salomé, hosted by the Board of Trustees. Iman and Pedlow each received 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 composed of D.C. theatre critics, STC supporters and theatre professionals recommends two performers from the Mainstage Season to receive the esteemed Emery Battis Award. Named in honor of STC’s longtime friend and affiliated artist, the late Emery Battis, the award is presented to two actors whose performances are deemed especially noteworthy.

All performers in Mainstage productions are eligible for consideration. After the close of the 2014-15 Season, the panel met to discuss the performances that had made the strongest impressions. In ultimately selecting Iman for her vocally and emotionally powerful take on Aldonza, and Pedlow for her giddily delightful interpretation of Lucille, this year’s panel chose to honor two highly skilled early-career performers and offer them tangible encouragement to remain committed to working in the theatre.

Amber Iman made her Shakespeare Theatre Company debut as Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, which became the best-selling production in the Company’s history. A graduate of Howard University, she has appeared on Broadway as Nina Simone in Soul Doctor and Off-Broadway in Rent and A Civil War Christmas. She has appeared locally in Stick Fly at Arena Stage, as well as at Huntington Theatre Company, Alliance Theatre and True Colors Theatre Company. Iman will be seen on Broadway next year in Shuffle Along starring Audra McDonald.

Amelia Pedlow returned to STC to play Lucille in The Metromaniacs after portraying Hermia in 2012’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Jessica in 2011’s The Merchant of Venice, both directed by Ethan McSweeny. Her New York credits include David Ives’s The Heir Apparent at Classic Stage Company and Pearl Theatre Company’s You Never Can Tell. She has appeared at regional theatres such as La Jolla Playhouse, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company and Denver Center Theatre Company, and she earned her BFA at the Juilliard School. Pedlow will reprise her role in The Metromaniacs next year at the Old Globe in San Diego in a production directed by STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn.

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.