SDCF Announces Inaugural BARBARA WHITMAN AWARD Recipient
Last Edit: Official_Press_Release 01:00 pm EDT 04/27/21
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 09:55 am EDT 04/27/21



New York, NY) Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), today announced the recipient and six finalists for the inaugural Barbara Whitman Award. Established by theatrical producer Barbara Whitman, the award recognizes a female, trans, or non-binary early-career director who has demonstrated a unique vision in their work with an unrestricted $10,000 cash prize.

Sharifa Yasmin, has been chosen to receive the 2021 Barbara Whitman Award. Yasmin said of her selection, "Being a part of trans and Arab American communities, we are so often told that we don’t matter—that our voices are insignificant. I became a director to change what stories are being told, to uplift voices that are so often silenced, to tell myself and my communities that we are here and we deserve to be heard. This award is life-changing for me in that endeavor, both in the recognition of my labor and in the support that enables me to continue this work. I am profoundly grateful to SDCF, Barbara Whitman and this incredible committee for seeing my voice, my goals, my craft, and saying they matter."

Directors Ty Defoe, Miranda Haymon, Tara Moses, Aya Ogawa, Tatiana Pandiani, and Mei Ann Teo were all named as finalists for the award. SDCF received over 100 applications for this award.

Yasmin was selected for this honor by a committee chaired by Barbara Whitman, which also included Christopher Burney, Luis Castro, Mia Katigbak, Moisés Kaufman, Dan Knechtges, Shakina Nayfack, Leigh Silverman, Eric Ting, and Tamilla Woodard.

Says Whitman, "I’m thrilled that Sharifa Yasmin has been named the inaugural winner of this award, and I’m equally excited that we were able to name six other exceptional directors as finalists. The caliber of the applicants was outstanding, and I’m honored to get the chance to help lift up the work of these extraordinary storytellers.”

About Sharifa Yasmin

Sharifa Yasmin (she/her) is a trans Egyptian-American director and playwright. She has completed directing fellowships with The Drama League, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Manhattan Theatre Club, Geva Theatre, Pure Theatre, and Hypokrit Theatre, and she is a 2020 Eugene O’Neill national directing fellow. Directing credits include The War Boys by Naomi Wallace, 3:59AM by Marco Ramirez, In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks, for colored girls… by Ntozake Shange, Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts, Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist by Carolyn Gage, and Mosque4Mosque by Omer Abbas Salem. She has assisted directors including Pirronne Yousefzadeh, Steve H. Broadnax III, Saheem Ali, Leslie Ishii, Mark Brokaw, Arpita Mukherjee, Sharon Graci and Meredith Mcdonough. Yasmin’s plays have been produced with Uprising Theatre Company, Trans Theatre Fest, Women’s Theatre Festival, taught at DePaul University, and published in The Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays. Her short film, Blinding, a series of stories centered around the global impact of COVID-19, is in development with the Antiviral Film Project. Starting Fall 2021, Yasmin will be a MFA Directing Candidate at Brown/Trinity Rep. www.sharifayasmin.com

About the Finalists:

Ty Defoe (Giizhig), Citizen of the Oneida and Ojibwe Nations. Grammy award winning interdisciplinary artist: writer, actor, choreographer, and director. Works authored and created: TransWorld, Red Pine, Ajijaak on Turtle Island, Wind Changes Direction, Before the Land Eroded, BasketBall Is 'War, Minus the Shooting' In Sectarian Lebanon, Firebird Tattoo, Copper Horns in Water, and currently, The Lesson (with Nolan Doran and Avi Amon), core member of All My Relations Collective, Devise Theater Working Group at the Public Theater. Direction: The Winter Bear (Perseverance Theater), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Arizona Shakespeare Company). Movement Direction for Mother Road, Dir. Bill Rauch (OSF), Manahatta, Dir. Laurie Woolery (OSF, Yale Rep), and choreographer for Tracy Lett’s The Minutes on Broadway, Dir. Anna Shapiro. Member of: Dramatist Guild Council, SDC, ASCAP, AEA. he |we | ty | allmyrealtions.earth | tydefoe.com

Miranda Haymon (she/they) is a Princess Grace Award/Honoraria-winning director, writer and curator. Recent projects include A Cakewalk (Garage Magazine & Gucci), Really, Really Gorgeous (The Tank), Everybody (Sarah Lawrence College), In the Penal Colony (Next Door @ NYTW, The Tank) and Mondo Tragic (National Black Theater). Miranda is a Resident Director at Roundabout Theatre Company and The Tank, a New Georges Affiliate Artist, a Usual Suspect at NYTW, a Space on Ryder Farm Creative Resident, and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and the Wingspace Mentorship Program. Miranda has held directing fellowships at WP Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout Theatre Company and Arena Stage. Miranda graduated from Wesleyan in 2016. For more information, visit www.mirandahaymon.com

Tara Moses (she/her) is a citizen of Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Mvskoke, director, award-winning playwright, co-Artistic Director in Residence of Red Eagle Soaring, Producing Artistic Director of telatúlsa, and co-Founder of Groundwater Arts. She is a Participant in New York Stage and Film’s inaugural NYSAF NEXUS project (2021); a Cultural Capital Fellow with First Peoples Fund (2020); fellow with the Intercultural Leadership Institute (18/19); member of the Directors Lab at Lincoln Center (2017); recipient of the Thomas C. Fichandler Award (2016); associate member of SDC; and Dramatists Guild member. She is expected to attend Brown University/Trinity Rep as an MFA Directing Candidate in the fall of 2021. www.taramoses.com

Aya Ogawa (she/they) is a Tokyo-born, Brooklyn-based playwright, director, performer, and translator whose work reflects an international viewpoint. Their original plays include The Nosebleed (Incoming! Under the Radar), Ludic Proxy (The Play Company), Journey to the Ocean (Foundry Theatre), and oph3lia (HERE). They reconceived Ludic Proxy for an on-line platform to launch in March 2021 with Japan Society. As a director they directed Haruna Lee’s Obie Award-winning Suicide Forest at The Bushwick Starr and its Off-Broadway remount for Ma-Yi Theater. They have translated over a dozen plays by Toshiki Okada and numerous other contemporary Japanese playwrights into English that have been published and produced in the U.S. and U.K. They are currently a resident playwright at New Dramatists, a Usual Suspect at NYTW, and recipient of the President’s Award in Performing Arts, LMCC. ayaogawa.com

Tatiana Pandiani (she/her/hers) is a South American, NYC-based writer & director-choreographer who works in English and Español. She serves as the Associate Director of What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck. A highlight of Covid times: writing for and directing Brian Cox for the Homebound Project. Tatiana has developed and directed new work at the Park Theatre (London), Long Wharf, Cleveland Playhouse, NYTW, IATI, Primary Stages, Signature. Last summer her musical AZUL was part of NMTC at the O'Neill Center. As a choreographer, Tatiana works with Latin Indie artists in concerts & music videos. She is an adjunct professor at Hofstra University and the Atlantic Acting School. Member of SDC. MFA: Columbia. www.tatianapandiani.com

Mei Ann Teo (they/she) is a queer immigrant from Singapore making theatre & film at the intersection of artistic/civic/contemplative practice. As a director/devisor/dramaturg, they create across genres, including music theatre, intermedial participatory work, reimagining classics, and documentary theatre. Teo’s international work includes Belgium's Festival de Liege (Bryonn Bain's Lyrics From Lockdown, “Truly polished, meaningful and entertaining” -New York Times), Edinburgh International Fringe (MiddleFlight, “Stunning” -Scotsman), Beijing International Festival (Labyrinth - Top 8 in Beijing News). Dim Sum Warriors the Musical by Colin Goh and Yen Yen Woo, composed by Pulitzer Prize winner Du Yun for national China twenty-five city tour, Jillian Walker’s world premiere SKiNFoLK: An American Show at the Bushwick Starr (NYTimes Critics Pick, NYMag’s matrix “Highbrow and Brilliant”), Madeline Sayet’s Where We Belong at Shakespeare’s Globe and Woolly Mammoth. Teo is the Visiting Professor of Directing at Carnegie Mellon University and the Artistic Director of Musical Theatre Factory. www.meiannteo.com

Barbara Whitman (she/her) is a theatrical producer who made her Broadway debut producing A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald and Sanaa Lathan. Other Broadway credits include Diana – The Musical, Burn This starring Adam Driver and Keri Russell, Angels in America (Tony and Drama Desk Award, Best Play Revival), 1984, The Glass Menagerie starring Sally Field, War Paint starring Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole, Oh, Hello starring Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, Fully Committed starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, The Humans (Tony Award, Best Play), Fun Home (Tony Award, Best Musical), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Tony and Drama Desk Awards, Best Musical Revival), Of Mice and Men starring James Franco, If/Then starring Idina Menzel, Hands on a Hardbody, Red (Tony and Drama Desk Awards, Best Play), Next to Normal (Pulitzer Prize), Hamlet starring Jude Law, 33 Variations starring Jane Fonda, Mary Stuart, Legally Blonde – The Musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Upcoming productions include the Pulitzer Prize winning A Strange Loop. A native New Yorker, Barbara attended NYU’s Gallatin School and received an MFA in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University. She’s on the Board of the Tectonic Theater Project, the Dean’s Council of Columbia University’s School of the Arts, as well as Northwestern University’s School of Communications National Advisory Council. She’s also a member of the Broadway League where she serves on the Board of Governors. Her proudest productions are her two sons, Daniel and Will.

Founded in 1965, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF) celebrates, develops, and supports professional stage directors and choreographers throughout every phase of their careers. SDCF works to build a theatrical community that reflects the cultural, racial, and gender diversity of our nation by creating opportunities for artists of all backgrounds to bring their full, authentic selves to their work as creative leaders in the theatre. SDCF's goals are to provide opportunities to practice the crafts of directing and choreography; to gather and disseminate craft and career information; to promote the profession to emerging talent; to provide opportunities for exchange of knowledge among directors and choreographers; to increase the awareness of the value of directors’ and choreographers’ work; and to convene around issues affecting theatre artists. sdcfoundation.org. www.sdcfoundation.org.
Link http://www.sdcfoundation.org

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