Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, proudly presented TTT Founding Artistic Director Michelle Hensley with the Visionary Leadership Award at the organization's 28 th TCG National Conference in St. Louis, MO, in June.
TCG also presented awards to:
• Theatre Practitioner Award:Ron Himes, founder and producing director, The Black Rep
• Theatre Practitioner Award:Steven Woolf, artistic director, Repertory Theater of St. Louis
• Alan Schneider Director Award:May Adrales, director
• Local Funder Award:Kranzberg Arts Foundation
“As we celebrate leaders in our theatre field, we are humbled by the breadth of their programmatic accomplishments, as well as their generosity in sharing their wisdom and expertise with others,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. “They are visionary artists and leaders, essential funders and civic leaders. In honoring their work, we celebrate the diversity and vitality of our field, and its power to bring communities together.”
The Visionary Leadership Award is given to an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to advance the theatre field as a whole, nationally and/or internationally. Recipients of this award are individuals who regularly think beyond their day-to-day work in order to implement practices, new models, advocacy efforts, etc. on behalf of the field.
As founding artistic director of Ten Thousand Things, Michelle has directed and produced over 60 tours of award-winning drama to audiences in prisons, shelters and housing projects, as well as the general public, with most productions making local critics' Top Ten Lists. A McKnight Theater Fellow, in 2005 she received the Francesca Primus Prize from the American Theater Critics Association for outstanding contribution to the American theater, and in 2012 was named Best Artistic Director by the Star Tribune. She is a founding member of the Minnesota Theater Alliance, served on the boards of the Theatre Communications Group and Howlround, and in 2015 published the book All The Lights On: Reimagining Theater with Ten Thousand Things. TTT's touring model has been adopted by at least a dozen theaters around the country including The Public Theater in New York City, the California Shakespeare Theater, Baltimore's Center Stage and The Old Globe Theater of San Diego. In 2017 Michelle won the Twin Cities' Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement, and Ten Thousand Things Theater received the Rosetta LeNoire Award from Actors Equity for artistic contributions to the universality of the human experience.
Michelle is stepping down as Artistic Director in summer 2018.