The Tony’s of the Philadelphia region is back. Theatre Philadelphia announced the return of the Barrymore Awards for excellence in theatre, this annual celebration and fundraiser is a big night for Philadelphia’s theatre scene.
What are the Barrymore Awards?
Initially established in 1994 and relaunched by Theatre Philadelphia in 2013, the Barrymore Awards serve as Philadelphia’s professional theatre awards program, recognizing artists for excellence and innovation while increasing public awareness of the richness and diversity of our city’s thriving theatre community.
The 2017-18 Barrymore Awards season ran from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, and included 40 companies presenting a total of 112 productions. 22 separate companies received nominations, with People’s Light receiving 25 nominations, The Wilma Theater and the Arden Theatre each receiving 19 nominations, and Azuka Theatre receiving 13 nominations.
The Barrymore Awards is an important night for theater in the City of Brotherly Love; the creativity, performance value, design and direction of all programs in the city are highlighted and honored in a way that is special to Philly. Every aspect of the theater is showcased during the Barrymore Awards. Actors, directors, music scores, choreographers, set designs, media design, lighting, sound and more are all represented through the nominations.
This year is extra special with the implementation of gender-inclusive award categories. Instead of an Outstanding Actor and Actress categories, Theatre Philadelphia will offer two recipients Outstanding Performance awards in leading and supporting categories for both plays and musicals.
“In this first year of implementing an Outstanding Performance category, we are proud to see such a diverse group of nominees,” says Theatre Philadelphia Executive Director Leigh Goldenberg. “By expanding the pool of who gets recognized publicly, we can broaden the conversation about what stories are told on stage. We hope to shed light on gender inclusivity through this change, and will continue to explore how this program addresses other issues of equity and diversity.”
There will be another notable moment during the ceremony with the long-standing tradition of bestowing the Lifetime Achievement Award. The 2018 honoree is Paul Meshejian, the founding Artistic Director of PlayPenn; his influence made Philadelphia a nationally-recognized home for new plays.
The Barrymore Awards not only recognize great talent in the city but also helps keep art, creation and skill fueled by re-granting $75,500 to artists and organizations through the generous support of local philanthropists CHG Charitable Trust, the June and Steve Wolfson Family Foundation, the Virginia Brown Martin Fund, and the Victory Foundation.
When are the Barrymore Awards?
The night does not start and end with the presentation of the awards. The post-ceremony celebration and dance party after as well as the formals awards are going to held at the Bok Building for the first time. “The Bok is a creative hub that reflects the inventive and collaborative nature of theatre in our region,” says Goldenberg. “We look forward to taking this event somewhere new and finding ways for the evenings to mirror the creative spirit of our theatre community.”
Leading up to the Ceremony, Theatre Philadelphia will announce a “Toast to the Barrymores” series, highlighting nominated artists and productions.
The Barrymore Awards and after party at Bok Building (800 Mifflin Street, Philadelphia) will take place on Nov. 5 from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. at the Bok Building. Purchase tickets here.