Valerie Curtis-Newton named the 2019 Gregory Falls Sustained Achievement Award recipient

Theatre Puget Sound (TPS) announces today that Valerie Curtis-Newton will be the recipient of the 2019 Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award.

Given each year in honor of Gregory A. Falls, this award acknowledges those individuals who have made an impact on our region’s theatre community and embody an inclusive and collaborative spirit.

Theatre Puget Sound’s Executive Director Ariel Bradler states, “Valerie’s artistic excellence and collaborative spirit are just a fraction of the impact she has had on our community. Her work with The Hansberry Project, hours of mentorship in and out of the classroom, and advocacy of POC artist voices will have a lasting effect on our regions theatrical landscape. It is an honor to celebrate this pillar of our community.”

Ms. Curtis-Newton will be the 22nd recipient of this prestigious honor. The 11th Annual Gregory Awards will occur on October 28th, 2019 at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, hosted by Alexandria J. Henderson and Jimmy Shields.

About Valerie Curtis-Newton
Currently Head of Directing at the University of Washington’s School of Drama, Valerie is co-founder of the Hansberry Project – an African American Theatre Lab. The Hansberry Project celebrates, presents and supports the work of black theatre artists developing/producing new work; creating community outreach opportunities and providing an artistic home for black theatre professionals.

Valerie has previously served as an Artistic Associate at A Contemporary Theatre (ACT), the Artistic Director of Hartford Connecticut’s Performing Ensemble, Inc. (1987-1993) and the Artistic Director for Seattle’s Ethnic Cultural Theatre (1993-1998). Her national credits include work with the Guthrie Theater, the Seattle Repertory Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Intiman Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, ArtsWest, West of Lenin, Seattle Public Theatre and Southern Repertory Theatre.

Valerie has been active in advancing the work of artists of color, serving on projects for
organizations such as the WA State Arts Commission, Seattle Arts Commission, the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis, The Theatre Communications Group, National Endowment for the Arts, National Black Theatre Festival and many others.

A recipient of both the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group
(TCG/NEA) Director Fellowship and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s (SDCF) Gielgud Directing Fellowship, Valerie holds a BA from Holy Cross College, an MFA in Directing from the University of Washington and is a member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers (SDC). Valerie has been awarded the Stranger Genius Awards in Performance, the Crosscut Courage Award for Culture and the ArtsFund Artist Innovation Award.

About the Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award
The Gregory Awards are named in honor of Gregory A. Falls, a former chair of the UW School of Drama, who is credited with creating Seattle’s vibrant theater scene. Falls died unexpectedly of pneumonia at age 75 on April 3, 1997. More than any other individual, Falls was “most responsible for the theater boom in this town,” said Arne Zaslove, former artistic director of the Bathhouse Theatre at Green Lake. “He was the impresario of bringing it all together.” Falls founded ACT Theatre, more than three decades ago, where he was ACT’s artistic director for 23 years until his retirement in 1987.

Previous recipients include: Kurt Beattie, Rex Carleton, Timothy McCuen Piggee, R. Hamilton Wright, Joyce Degenfelder, Kathy Hsieh, and Billy and Howie Seago.

TPS gratefully acknowledges Jean Burch Falls for her contributions and continued support in honoring those that shape our theatrical landscape.

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