2015 – Ellen Alberding

Ellen Alberding, center right, accepts her awardalong with E. Faye Butler, National EEO Committee Co-Chair; Dev Kennedy, Central Regional Vice Chair; Ron OJ Parson, National EEO Committee Member; and Sean F. Taylor, Central Regional Director/Assistant to the Executive Director.The annual Spirit: A Celebration of Diversity event, which honors individuals, theater companies and organizations that provide opportunities for members of color to audition and work in Chicago and in the Central Region, was held on March 16, 2015.

The ceremony was hosted at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, where the 2015 Kathryn V. Lamkey Award (“Kathy”) was presented to Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation.

With great support and enthusiasm, Alberding was honored for her work with the Joyce Foundation in the Great Lakes region as a long-time supporter of minority theater and artists. Many of Equity’s Central Region actors, dancers, singers, stage managers and employers feel that their careers might not have been possible without Alberding’s unparalleled dedication to the arts in the Midwest.

National EEO Co-Chair E. Faye Butler welcomed the room and provided a brief history of the Spirit Celebration by reminding the audience that the event started in 1999 as a simple ice cream social. More than a decade later, the intent of the early "social," which was to bring members and other theatre professionals together to celebrate diversity within its community, has proudly remained true to its original vision.  

The event is presented by Equity’s Equal Employment Opportunity Committee (EEO) and co-sponsored by the award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater.