Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), has established The Zelda Fichandler Award to recognize an outstanding director or choreographer who is making a unique and exceptional contribution to the theatre through work in the regional arena. This Award is not for lifetime achievement; the intent is to honor an artist for both accomplishment to date and promise for the future.
With this award, SDCF acknowledges the profound impact the regional theatre founders have had on the field and honors their legacy. The national arts landscape was transformed by their artistry, passion, and courage. Through The Zelda Fichandler Award, SDCF recognizes extraordinary individuals who are building upon this legacy by advancing and continuing to transform the theatre through their unique and creative work in the American regional theatre.
Zelda Fichandler, founding Artistic Director of Arena Stage, stands at the forefront of the regional theatre movement, a movement of visionary artists who dedicated themselves and their artistry to communities across the country more than 50 years ago. Zelda’s vision, aesthetic and rigor have brought seminal works to the stage; her influence has profoundly shaped the artistry and careers of actors, designers, writers, and fellow directors; her leadership has informed cultural policy; and her tenacity and spirit have brought strength to the eco-system that is the foundation of the American Theatre today. Zelda is a champion of firsts, perhaps most notably to helm the first theatre to be awarded the Regional Theatre Tony Award for outstanding achievement. She cultivated an evolving but resident acting company as she diligently forged a path for a life in the regional theatre. Zelda’s courage and that of her fellow founders resulted in the establishment of theatres in communities across the United States that today illuminate our nation’s cultural life.
The Zelda Fichandler Award is SDCF’s first award devoted to the regional theatre, where the majority of professional theatre directors and choreographers in the United States are now working. The Award serves as a complement to the “Mr. Abbott” Award, presented annually in New York to recognize lifetime achievement, and the Joe A. Callaway Award, awarded for excellence in direction and choreography in non-Broadway productions in New York. These three awards are the only awards given to theatre directors and choreographers by their peers.
The Zelda Fichandler Award recognizes prominent achievement in the field, singular creativity and artistry, and deep investment in a particular place outside of the New York arena. The Award Recipient will receive an unrestricted financial grant from SDCF; in 2012, the grant awarded will be $5000. The Award is not to honor lifetime achievement; it is about both accomplishment to date and promise for the future.
The Award is given regionally on a rotating basis. This year, it will be given to a director or choreographer who has made and who continues to make a significant contribution to theatre in the Western region comprised of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
A committee comprised of 8 – 13 committee members, the majority of whom work primarily in theatre in the selected region, will select the Zelda Fichandler Award Recipient from artists nominated.
Nominations are accepted from all sources. Nominators need not be SDC Members. Self-nominations will not be accepted.
2009 – Western Region – Jonathan Moscone of California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, California.
2010 – Central Region – Michael Halberstam of Writer’s Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois.
2011 – Eastern Region – Blanka Zizka of The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
To be eligible for this award, the artist must:
- have made and be continuing to make a unique and exceptional contribution to theatre in the selected region. Artistic staff and freelance directors/choreographers are both eligible.
- work and live primarily in this year’s selected region, the Western United States. This region is comprised of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
- be a Full SDC Member in good standing or SDC Associate Member in good standing by the nomination deadline.
Nominees will be evaluated based upon the following criteria:
- vision, energy, creativity, and artistry in the nominee’s body of work
- the nominee’s impact on theatre and dedication to furthering the directing/choreography craft in the context of the region
- the significance of The Zelda Fichandler Award to the nominee and the community
- while the emphasis will be on theatre work, the entirety of a nominee’s work in the region will be considered in the evaluation process
Please be sure to address these topics in the nomination form.
- May 1, 2012: Nomination process open
- July 2, 2012: Deadline for nominations
- July 6, 2012: Nominees contacted by SDCF staff
- September 5, 2012: Submission materials due from nominees (receipt, not postmark)
- September 28, 2012: Award Recipient selected by committee
- November 2012: Award presentation, exact date and venue TBD
Nominations will be accepted through July 2, 2012. Self-nominations will not be accepted. To nominate an individual, please download our nomination form here . Email completed form with subject line “Fichandler Nomination” to Fichandler@SDCWeb.org (preferred) or fax to 212.302.6195 ATTN: Zelda Fichandler Award.
For more information, please contact Ellen Rusconi at Fichandler@SDCWeb.org or 646.524.2226.