Award to Be Presented at the StageSource Theater Conference
Saturday, June 29, 2013
The StageSource Board of Directors has named Nora Theatre Company founding Artistic Director, Mimi Huntington as the recipient of the 2013 StageSource Theater Hero Award. The Theater Hero Award is being presented to Ms. Huntington for her service, inspiration and role as a champion of the theater community and will be awarded on Saturday, June 29th at the conclusion of the 2013 StageSource Theater Conference.
Ms. Huntington has been at the helm of The Nora since its inception in 1987 and has long been a respected producer and leader in New England Theater. The Nora was one of the earliest companies in Boston to focus on stories by and about women. She has been instrumental in making The Nora a place for theater artists to thrive. Her service on various boards including StageSource coupled with her drive and leadership – and that of Debra Wise and Catherine Carr Kelly – in the development and creation of Central Square Theater in 2008 has changed and improved the local theater scene at all levels.
This new model of partnership (Central Square Theater was created through a groundbreaking partnership between Underground Railway Theater and The Nora Theatre Company, in collaboration with the City of Cambridge and MIT) with its vision of artists and audiences creating theater vital to our community, provides a home for many local artists, serving as a hub for thetheater community.
Huntington is one of the architects behind the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund (TCBF) along with Ron Ritchell and Polly Hogan. Established in 1999 TCBF is a non-profit theater community organization that provides financial relief in a confidential, respectful manner to individual theater artists and theater organizations facing extreme illness, catastrophic acts of nature, and other events such as vandalism/theft, and who have limited or no resources with which to handle such occurrences.
“As Founder and Artistic Director of the Nora Theatre, Mimi has been a leader in the area of theatre excellence and an unflagging champion of new plays by women playwrights,” notes Playwright Amy Merrill. “Now, Central Square Theater, which she founded with Debra Wise, of the Underground Railway Theater Company, is an anchor of the Central Square cultural district.”
“I have seen many shows at The Nora over the years, and have some great theatrical memories of their work,” says Julie Hennrikus, Executive Director of StageSource. “Since coming to StageSource, I have been involved with the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund and their board. I am amazed and inspired by the work of this group. That care, thoughtfulness, and legacy is a great example of the impact that Mimi has had on our community. And that impact makes her a wonderful choice for this year’s Theater Hero Award.”
“I was one of Mimi Huntington’s teachers at the graduate school at Brandeis. It was clear to me from the beginning that Mimi was an extraordinary theatre person,” says Nora Associate Director, Daniel Gidron. “Over the years I have been associated with the Nora Theatre Company, I was impressed by Mimi’s selfless dedication and vision. She founded the company, nurtured it, and shepherded it through its homeless period and on to its new home at the Central Square Theater. Through all those years she kept an unswerving vision and dedication to artistic excellence and social justice, emphasizing plays with a female voice, new scripts and revivals of modern classics. At the time of its inception, there were no other companies with similar missions in the Boston area. The Nora’s success created an environment where this kind of cutting edge experimentation became possible. That by itself makes Mimi Huntington a theater hero.”
Biography for Mary C. Huntington
Mary C. Huntington is the founding Artistic Director of The Nora Theatre Company, overseeing artistic and operational policy and the development of its programming, including 69 productions to date. The company produces illuminating contemporary and modern classic theater, including new scripts and area premieres, great works of the modern era, and scripts that speak with a feminine voice on human concerns and endeavors. She began her theater career as an actress and has acted in Off-off Broadway, regional, and summer stock productions, as well as in many productions for the The Nora. While in New York City, she produced and performed in her own musical nightclub act. Ms. Huntington is one of the leaders in the development of Central SquareTheater, a cultural anchor in the Central Square, Cambridge community and home to The Nora and Underground Railway Theater. She serves on the Executive Committee of NEAT – the Producers Association of New England Area Theatres, and on the board of the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund of which she is also a founding member.
Nominees were put forth by individuals from the New England theater community for the 2013 Theater Hero Award. The recipient is determined by the StageSource Board of Directors, currently comprised of leaders in the theater community representing theater artists, audiences supporters and producing organizations. The award is presented to “an exceptional member of the New England theater community who has demonstrated a history of service and commitment to the community through leadership, support, inspiration, innovation and promotion of the art of theaterthroughout the region.”
Presentation of the award will take place on Saturday, June 29 at the StageSource Theater Conference: Reframing Success at the A.R.T.’s Loeb Drama Center. Past Theater Hero Award recipients have included Jack Welch, former Managing Director of Baker’s Plays (2000); Kate Snodgrass, Artistic Director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (2001); Wheelock FamilyTheatre (2002);Spiro Veloudos, Producing Artistic Director, Lyric Stage Company of Boston (2003); Jacqui Parker,Artistic Director, Our Place Theatre Project (2004); Scott Edmiston, director and long-time StageSource board member (2005); Susan Gassett, co-founder and Artistic Director of City Stage (2006); James Spruill, co-founder of New African Company and longtime Associate Professor of Boston University (2007); SpeakEasy Stage Company (2008); Joyce Kulhawik (2009); Michael Maso of the Huntington Theatre Company(2010); and Jeff Poulos, former executive director of StageSource (2011).
Information about the StageSource Theater Conference can be found at Reframing Success – The 2013 StageSource Theater Conference.