Sir Alan Ayckbourn, one of the UK’s greatest living playwrights, is to be awarded a special Tony award in June to recognise his life’s work.
The Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre will be presented to Alan Ayckbourn at the ceremony in New York on 13 June. Ayckbourn, who is 71, has written 74 full-length plays, and saw a revival of his play The Norman Conquests win a Tony Award last year. His 1975 play Bedroom Farce is currently playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London.
He will collect his honour at a ceremony in New York on 13 June. The nominees for this year’s Tony Awards will be presented on 4 May.
US actress Marian Seldes will also be presented with a Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre award. She performed in all 1,809 New York performances of Ira Levin’s Deathtrap, a show that will come to London in August starring Simon Russell Beale, Anna Massey, Jonathan Groff and Claire Skinner.
Other non-competitive, special awards announced ahead of the ceremony include the Isabelle Stevenson Award to David Hyde Pierce, who will star in La Bete at the Comedy Theatre in June alongside Joanna Lumley and Mark Rylance. Also Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre will be presented to the Alliance of Resident Theatres New York, B. H. Barry and Tom Viola.
More information from the Tony Awards:
Alan Ayckbourn is the author of more than 74 full-length plays including Absurd Person Singular (1975), Bedroom Farce (1975), Just Between Ourselves (1976), Woman in Mind (1985), A Small Family Business (1987), House & Garden (1999) and Private Fears in Public Places (2004). He has directed more than 300 productions, including the West End premieres of most of his writing. Between 1972 and 2009, he was the Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, England, where the majority of his work has been and continues to be premiered. Sir Alan, who was knighted in 1987, was most recently represented on Broadway with The Norman Conquests. That production received the Tony Award as Best Revival of a Play in 2009.
Marian Seldes won a Tony Award in 1967 for her performance in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, the first of five Tony nominations. Her Broadway career spans more than six decades, from her debut in Medea in 1947 through her most recent appearance in Terrence McNally’s Deuce (2007). Among her many Broadway credits was Ira Levin’s long-running Deathtrap, in which she appeared in all 1,809 performances. She is revered as a teacher to several generations of actors, having served on the faculty at Julliard (1967-1991) and Fordham University (2002-present).
David Hyde Pierce: Humanitarian
The recipient of the second Isabelle Stevenson Award will be Tony Award-winning actor David Hyde Pierce. This honor recognizes an individual from the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations. Mr. Pierce is being honored for his work in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. He began his support for the Alzheimer’s Association in the early 1990s and is currently a National Board Member. He works on both a local and national level advocating congressional leaders for additional funding for Alzheimer’s research and care programs. The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support, and research.
Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Established in 1990, Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre recognize institutions, individuals and organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theatre, but are not eligible in any of the established Tony Award categories. This year’s Tony Honors will be presented to:
- The Alliance of Resident Theatres New York (A.R.T./New York) – Founded in 1972, A.R.T./New York assists its nearly 300 member theatres in managing their companies effectively so they may realize their rich artistic visions and serve their diverse audiences well. Over the years, A.R.T./New York has earned a reputation as a leader in providing progressive service to its members, making the organization an expert in the needs of the Off and Off Off Broadway community.
- B. H. Barry – A leading theatrical fight director, Mr. Barry pioneered the teaching of stage combat as part of the curriculum in U.S. drama programs, having being been trained in his native England. His numerous Broadway credits range from the 1981 productions of Frankenstein and Macbeth to Dividing the Estate in 2008.
- Tom Viola – Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the nation’s leading industry-based not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. Mr. Viola is being honored for his personal commitment to the fight against AIDS, which stretches back beyond his service as founding administrative director of Equity Fights AIDS in 1988. He saw the organization through its merger with Broadway Cares in 1992, and became BC/EFA’s executive director five years later. BC/EFA was previously honored with a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre in 1993.