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16th Street Theater nabs emerging theater award

Updated: April 25, 2013 11:31AM

The 16th Street Theater, which has developed into an important cultural outpost in the Berwyn community in recent seasons, has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award.

The award, overseen by the League of Chicago Theatres, comes with a $5,000 prize, as well as consultation with Broadway In Chicago staff members and a marketing package that includes advertising support. Created in 2007, the award was devised “to encourage, support and promote emerging theaters in Chicago that have demonstrated great ability and promise, artistic excellence and fiscal responsibility in business practices.”

The 16th Street Theater, selected by a majority vote of its peers — member companies of the League of Chicago Theatres — has been cited as “an artistic public forum for the diverse people of Berwyn and its neighboring communities, promoting reflection of their world, inspiring compassion and understanding of others, and igniting discussion. It presents plays that pose relevant questions of identity and living in today’s America.”

The 16th Street Theater was founded in 2007 by Chicago director Ann Filmer who moved to Berwyn just as Joe Vallez, executive director of the North Berwyn Park District, was putting the finishing touches on the new Berwyn Cultural Center. A partnership was formed, and the company took up residence in the Cultural Center’s new 49-seat theater. Now in its 6th year, 16th Street has produced 34 plays (including five Words In Motion Festivals); developed and produced seven world premieres; hosted seven playwrights-in-residence; commissioned two solo shows; created two original theater pieces and more. An Equity operation, the theater also is committed to keeping theater inclusive by charging a top ticket price of $18.

Finalists for the award were Bailiwick Chicago, Filament Theatre Ensemble, Pavement Group, and Sideshow Theatre Company.

The Emerging Theater Award will be presented to 16th Street Theater at the League of Chicago Theatres Annual Gala, celebrating the 175th Anniversary of Chicago theater. This one-night-only event brings together supporters from the community to champion more than 200 Chicago theatre companies. This year’s event will be held on May 20 in the Grand Ballroom of the InterContinental Chicago, 505 N. Michigan.

In addition to the Emerging Theater Award, the League will honor Jeff Perry as the recipient of the 2013 Tribute Award. Writers’ Theatre’s Artistic Director Michael Halberstam will receive the 2013 Artistic Leadership Award. The Jeff Committee, now celebrating its 45th Anniversary, will receive the first-ever Theatre Advocacy Award.

Tickets are available for $300 per person, and all proceeds benefit The League of Chicago Theatres which promotes, supports and advocates for theater in Chicago. To purchase tickets, or for sponsorship opportunities and participation information, visit or call (312) 554-9800.

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