VintAge Awards Honor Martha Richards

Dame Rosemary Squire and Martha Richards

By Marcina Zaccaria

The League of Professional Theatre Women gathered to honor Martha Richards at the 2020 VintAge Awards. 

A gifted leader, skilled mentor, and incomparable fundraiser, Martha Richards inspired women from around the world to stand up and be heard.  After showing of photos from years of great work with SWAN Day and other time-honored programs, women were encouraged in song to “rise up as one.”  Describing their mission with Women in the Arts and Media Coalition, participants explained how they heard about new options for grants, festivals, and funding.  Stage Opps and Screen Opps have given hope to struggling artists, who needed to see beyond the small grant for the singular project.  Always keeping the conversation going, the Collaboration Awards and Conversations Under the Gun series, provided a way for American women to be aware of International women artists around the world.  

Mary Hodges and Shellen Lubin

After an introductory speech by League of Professional Theatre Women Co-Chairs Shellen Lubin and Mary Hodges, Zoom attendees heard from Co-Chair Yvonne Curry and Avis Boone, Co-Presidents of the Coalition, who spoke live to set a frame for this special event.  Elsa Rael expressed her sentiments, welcoming attendees to appreciate the work of the Women in the Arts and Media Coalition.  After a terrific speech from Paul Tetreault, Director of Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC, Rebecca Strang explained her early days as a box office worker and actress, struggling against male abuse of power.  Artists like Christine Young, Deborah Magdalena, Melinda Pfundstein, Alice Tuan, and Sandra Oh gave testament to the ways they became smarter artists, savvy to the best business practices, creating new pathways for their careers.  Described as “resilient” and “steady,” Martha Richards had an extraordinary impact throughout the years, giving solo performance artists, arts administrators, singers, writers, directors, and actors courage to raise their voices.  As relevant in Northampton, San Francisco, Miami, and New York, SWAN Day later became a festival to look toward in Shanghai and in Kenya. 

Elsa Rael-Founder of the Women in Arts & Media Coalition

Finally, Dame Rosemary Squire presented the 2020 VintAge Award to Martha Richards, who appeared on screen to accept.  Opening a box, she revealed her award.  She affirmed that collaboration and unity, through SWAN Day and other coordinated events, lead us to greater understanding.  Working together, women artists are stronger than ever.  The event concluded with a sing-a-long and recognition of a program with names of all the honored speakers.     

The VintAge Awards, founded in 1981, were held on Saturday, November 14.