The Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department proudly congratulates the alumni and faculty members who were honored with Black Theatre Alliance/Ira Aldridge Awards for 2018. The awards were presented October 15 at a ceremony at Columbia College’s Hokin Lecture Hall. The winners included:
alum RjW Mays ’06, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting, who received the Hattie McDaniel Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Kingdom (produced by Broken Nose Theatre);
alum Michael Allen Harris ’11, a graduate of the Columbia College Theatre Department’s Acting program, who received the Lorraine Hansberry Award for Best Writing of a Play for Kingdom (produced by Broken Nose Theatre, where Harris is resident playwright);
alum Chris Jackson ’14, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre Performance, who won the Douglas Alan Mann Award for Best Direction of an Ensemble for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (produced by Pulse Theatre Chicago, co-founded by Jackson and alumnus Aaron Mitchell Reese ’12, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program);
In addition, the cast of Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery (produced by Pegasus Theatre Chicago) received the Target Community Relations Award for Best Ensemble. The show was directed by alumna Ilesa Duncan ’99, who was nominated for the Douglas Alan Mann Award for Best Direction of an Ensemble.
The Black Theatre Alliance Awards were established in 1995 by Columbia College Chicago alumnus Vincent Williams ’03, a graduate of the BA Program in Performing Arts Management from what is now the Columbia College Chicago Business and Entrepreneurship Department. The awards were founded to honor African Americans who achieve excellence in theater, dance, and all areas of the performing arts in the Chicagoland area. The 2018 awards recognize Chicago-area stage productions produced and presented between August 1, 2017, and July 31, 2018. The awards also pay homage to Ira Aldridge (1807-1867), an African American actor famed for his performances in Shakespearean roles in Europe.