Weston Playhouse honored with Actors’ Equity diversity award

Photo Attached Pictured L to R: Actor and Weston board member Marcus Neville, Christine Toy Johnson, Steve Stettler, Weston Board Chair Anthony C. Wood. Photo provided.

From left, actor and Weston board member Marcus Neville, actress Christine Toy Johnson, Steve Stettler and Weston board chair Anthony C. Wood. Photo provided.

Weston Playhouse Theater Company has been awarded the 2015 Rosetta LeNoire Award from the Actors’ Equity Association, recognizing its long commitment to diversity in casting,  programming and the cultivation of new works.

Only one LeNoire Award is given out annually.

Weston artistic producer Steve Stettler accepted the award on April 10 in New York City during Equity’s annual membership meeting.

The award, named after noted actor and producer Rosetta LeNoire, is given in recognition of outstanding artistic contributions that highlight the universality of the human spirit through diversity in casting and programming, and for commitment to cultivating new works by writers of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

LeNoire, the first honoree, was recognized for her work in the theater, for her work with the then-titled Actors’ Equity Association’s Ethnic Minorities Committee and for founding the AMAS Repertory Theatre Company, an organization dedicated to maintaining an “interracial company” of actors. LeNoire award recipients, who have included Joseph Papp/The New York Shakespeare Festival and Ellen Stewart/La MaMa E.T.C., must have a working relationship and a history with Actors’ Equity.

Stettler said Weston was deeply honored to be recognized in the company of the remarkable artists, theaters and organizations. “We are proud of our long-standing relationship with Actors’ Equity and our dedication to diversity and theatrical excellence.” Stettler added that the recognition further inspires Weston to continue to set an example in the field.

“We believe that theater should explore the human condition and that diversity is of the essence in doing so. Particularly because we produce in one of the least ethnically diverse states in the country, we place a priority on diverse programming, casting and hiring. We are constantly working to see that our company and community are inclusive and welcoming, and that the work on our stages reflects a broader world and world-view.”

The award was presented by past recipient and Weston actor/writer Christine Toy Johnson, who described the Weston community as extraordinarily joyous, loving and generous. She commended the theater for this inclusive world view, one she sees celebrated “back stage, on stage, in the work of the volunteers and consequently – in the audience.”

The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is Vermont’s oldest professional theater, founded in 1937, and an active partner with Actors’ Equity since 1988. To learn more about WPTC, visit www.westonplayhouse.org for a detailed preview of the summer theater season.

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