Each year, Actors' Equity Association recognizes the contributions of its members and our colleagues in the industry with a number of different awards. Additionally, the Actors' Equity Foundation presents its own awards, usually at Actors' Equity Association meetings. And in one case, the Paul Robeson Award, the award is a joint project of the Association and the Foundation.
ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION AWARDS
Equity's Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs (ACCA) presents the ACCA Award for Outstanding Broadway Chorus annually. This is the first industry award of its type to honor the distinctive talents and contributions made by the chorus of a Broadway musical.
Arizona Theatre Service Award
The Arizona Theatre Service Award is given by Equity members in Arizona, to recognize individuals who have contributed to the health and visibility of live theatre in their state.
Ivy Bethune ("The Ivy") Award
The Ivy Bethune Award, also known as "The Ivy," was established in 2003. It recognizes individuals and organizations in the Western Region who have nurtured and developed diversity, inclusion and social justice in their hiring & casting practices, storytelling, producing, directing, programming and advocacy. The award is named for Ivy Bethune, a former Equity Councilor who devoted more than 80 years of her life to civil rights activism and equal opportunity rights.
Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award
The Extraordinary Excellence on Broadway Award was established in 2007. Presented by Equity’s National Equal Employment Opportunity Committee, the Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award was established in 2007 to honor Broadway productions that exemplify and promote the union’s founding principles of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity for all who work in the theatre.
Alan Eisenberg Award
The Actors' Equity/Alan Eisenberg Award was established in 2007 in recognition of the Mr. Eisenberg's twenty-five years of dedicated service to Actors' Equity as the Union's Executive Director. The $5,000 award goes to a graduating senior from the University of Michigan's Musical Theatre Department to recognize outstanding talent and career potential. The winner is selected by Vince Cardinal, Chair of the Department.
The Legacy Robe
Since 1950, a robe has been passed from Broadway show to Broadway show on opening night as part of a ritual honoring the chorus member who has worked the most chorus contracts on Broadway. The honoree dons the robe to bless the show on opening night, and then the show adds a decorative patch representing their production before passing on the robe at the next opening night.
Lucy Jordan Award
The Award was initiated in 1992 to honor the legacy of Lucy Finney Jordan, a former ballerina and chorus performer who, for many years, was the “face” of Actors’ Equity in the Western Region as the Union’s Outside Field Rep. The award is given to those who demonstrate a “a lifetime commitment to the theatre and especially, helping other theatre artists.”
Kathryn V. Lamkey ("Spirit") Award
The Kathryn V. Lamkey ("Spirit") Award was established in 2008. This Central Region Award honors outstanding work by members who are traditionally marginalized, theatres that center marginalized identities and theatres that make diverse and inclusive casting a priority throughout their seasons. The award is named for long time Central Regional Director Kathryn V. Lamkey.
Rosetta LeNoire Award
The Rosetta LeNoire Award was established in 1988. It recognizes the American theatre producers and practitioners whose work to further the union's policy regarding diverse and inclusive casting and representing the diversity of our world is often overlooked. The award is named for actor and producer Rosetta LeNoire in honor of her tireless work with the Actors' Equity Association's Ethnic Minorities Committee - now the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee - and for her founding of the AMAS Repertory Theatre Company, which is dedicated to celebrating and developing diversity in American musical theatre.
Frederick O'Neal Award (Coming Soon)
The Frederick O'Neal Award was established in 2020. The Frederick O'Neal Award uplifts an Eastern Region member or non-Broadway theatre whose work demonstrates a long-lasting commitment to representing and welcoming people from all walks of life on their stage, in the wings and indeed in all aspects of theatre. The award is named for Frederick O'Neal, the first African-American president of Actors' Equity Association.
ACTORS' EQUITY FOUNDATION AWARDS
The St. Clair Bayfield Award
This award was established in 1973 to honor an actor giving the most outstanding performance in a supporting role in a Shakespearean play in the New York metropolitan area. The award is given in January and includes $1000 and a crystal plaque. The winner is chosen by a panel of critics and members of the theatre community.
The Joe A. Callaway Awards
These awards were established in 1989 to honor a male and a female actor for the best performance in a classical play in the New York metropolitan area, selected by a panel of critics. The award is given in January and includes $1000 and a commemorative plaque.
The Clarence Derwent Awards
Established in 1945, the Clarence Derwent Award is a crystal plaque and $5,000 to a male and a female actor for the most promising performance in a supporting role, as selected by a panel of critics. Derwent's will stipulated a Trust Fund for the Actors' Equity Foundation to fund the awards. The Derwent Award is given at the end of the theatre season in June.
Michael McCarty Recognition Award
Michael McCarty, a veteran Equity actor who died in 2015 in Santa Barbara at the age of 68, left a portion of his estate to establish an award to be presented annually by the Actors' Equity Foundation to a stage actor over the age of 50 residing in Los Angeles. The award is intended for a working actor, not a star, who has made a life in the theatre.
The Patrick Quinn Award
This award was established in 2007 under the auspices of the Actors' Equity Foundation to honor an individual who has worked tirelessly for the betterment of actors. The Patrick Quinn Award for Distinguished Service to Actors was established by his estate, which created a fund to recognize and reward those who give so much of themselves to to improve the lives of actors. The recipient is selected by a panel chosen by the Foundation and is awarded a crystal piece and $1,000 check. Quinn served as Equity's President from 2000-2006, and held many leadership positions within the Union. He was a founding member of Equity Fights AIDS, and served as second VP of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He was a Trustee of The Actors' Fund of America, the Equity-League Health, Pension and 401(k) Trust Funds, and First VP of the Actor's Equity Foundation.
The Richard Seff Award
In 2003 the Actors' Equity Foundation established the Richard Seff Award, an annual award to be given to a male and female character actor, 50 years old or older and who has been a member of the Actors' Equity for 25 years or longer, for the best performance in a featured or unfeatured supporting role in a Broadway or Off Broadway production. These actors may not be stars as determined by Equity, and an actor may only be the recipient of this award one time. The award consists of a $1,000 honorarium plus a crystal trophy. The first awards were presented at the Council meeting in July of 2004.
The Roger Sturtevant Musical Theatre Award
The Roger Sturtevant Musical Theatre Award, given under the auspices of the Actors' Equity Foundation, is available to current Equity Membership Candidates (EMC) who have demonstrated outstanding abilities in the musical theatre field. The award, consisting of a $1,000 check and a certificate, is presented to one male and one female EMC based on a video audition, written recommendations, and a completed application. A panel including actor/members of the Actors' Equity Foundation and members of the Casting Society of America choose the recipients of the award and announce the winners each April. The judging panel strictly adheres to the principles of non-traditional casting and actively encourages actors of all cultural backgrounds to apply.
Paul Robeson Award
On June 1, 1971, the Council of Actors' Equity Association established what is now known as the Paul Robeson Committee and designated Frederick O'Neal as Chair. The committee resolved to present an award to an individual or organization that best leverages theatre to go beyond the stage to enact their commitment to the freedom of expression and conscience, their belief in the artist’s responsibility to society and their dedication to the betterment of humankind. The Robeson is the only award jointly administered by Actors' Equity Association and Actors' Equity Foundation.