Sherwood Award

Center Theatre Group's $10,000 Dorothy and Richard E. Sherwood Award for theatre artists is given annually to nurture innovative and adventurous theatre artists working in Los Angeles. Two additional finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium.

Sherwood Award

The Sherwood Award nurtures the selected artists and invites them to engage in a professional relationship with Center Theatre Group. Sherwood Awardees demonstrate leadership qualities, push existing boundaries, and are dedicated to improving the future of their respective artistic fields. Artists are not limited by title, role, or genre, but they must have a relationship to contemporary performance rooted in theatre.

Originally created in 1996 as an annual fund to support innovative, adventurous theatre artists from Los Angeles, the Sherwood Award was established in memory of Dorothy and Richard E. Sherwood. Both of the Sherwoods were patrons of the arts with a special appreciation for the energy and talent of artists at a catalytic moment in their career who are vanguards in theatre. Richard Sherwood was president of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and president and then chairman of Center Theatre Group’s Board of Directors from 1980 until his death in 1993. Dorothy Sherwood created the award to honor her husband and helped shepherd the award process since its inception before her passing in 2018. The award is endowed by the Sherwood family and honors the Sherwoods’ passionate commitment to theatre.

2021 Sherwood Award Applications

The application for the 2021 Sherwood Award will open in spring 2020.

For more information or any questions about the Sherwood Award, please contact

If we are to have a dynamic theatre expressing the world of the 21st century, we must recognize and nourish the explorative artist, particularly in the struggle of the early years of a career.

Dorothy Sherwood

2020 Sherwood Award Recipient

Mat Diafos Sweeney (Composer and Director) is an Ovation Award-winning performance maker from Los Angeles. His practice includes directing, choreographing, designing, composing music, and writing/collaging texts to make new theatre. He creates through-composed performance work for multi-disciplinary ensembles, often devised and staged in non-theatrical venues. He has been independently producing work as four larks since 2008, with an evolving coterie of collaborators across the US and Australia. His most recent projects include undine, a New Music USA supported ecofeminist songspiel in a converted flower shop downtown, and katabasis, a processional opera staged around the grounds and gardens of the Getty Villa, styled after ancient mystery rites. In the coming year he will continue his ongoing series of site-specific performance activations for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, present his participatory installation song cycle hymns, and premiere his new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s frankenstein at the Wallis.

This year’s selection process was made possible by a diverse group of external reviewers outside of Center Theatre Group. Miwa Matreyek (animator/performer—2016) and Miranda Wright (producer—2014), both previous Sherwood Awardees, were invited to review the second phase pool of applicants. Their insightful feedback as previous recipients and established working theatre artists helped to narrow down the pool to eight semifinalists. The semifinalist applications were then sent to a panel of five accomplished theatre professionals based on their experience and expertise in the Los Angeles community. Their analyses and judicious questions provided the basis for the structure of each interview with the Sherwood team. Center Theatre Group would like to thank Miwa Matreyek and Miranda Wright, Sean Cawelti (Sherwood Awardee—2015, Artistic Director of Rogue Artists Ensemble, director and puppet, mask, and video designer), Malcolm Darrell (Associate Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering), Nancy Keystone (Artistic Director/Executive Producer of Critical Mass Performance Group, director), Laurel Kishi (Performing Arts Manager, J. Paul Getty Museum), and Edgar Miramontes (Deputy Executive Director & Curator, REDCAT) for their time in helping us recognize the next Sherwood Award recipient.

Sherwood Award Requirements

Applicants must be:

  • An individual artist (no groups or teams)
  • A resident of Los Angeles for at least two years
  • An artist who has developed/collaborated on at least two fully produced projects in Los Angeles
  • Emerging in their field and/or at a catalytic moment in their career (which does not reflect the age of the artists, but where they are in the trajectory of their careers)

Sherwood Award Priorities:

Competitive candidates will demonstrate the following qualities:

  • Innovative—introducing new ideas; original and creative in thinking
  • Pushing boundaries—extending frontiers, experimenting, challenging the theatrical norm, finding new forms of artistic expression
  • Exceptional talent—the ability to capture the attention of the audience through pure skill and craft, a natural ability or aptitude in the selected field, translating passion and dedication into works of art, etc.
  • Effective communication—theatre artists who can passionately and effectively communicate their point of view and distinct artistic voice.

Sherwood Fellowship

To aid the Sherwood Artistic Programs Coordinator and Center Theatre Group's Artistic Development Program in the administration and coordination of the award process, a professional fellowship is offered to an emerging and aspiring arts professional. In addition to a stipend, the fellow receives a mentorship in contemporary theatre and gains exposure to contemporary work being presented in Los Angeles.

2019 Sherwood Fellow

Bailey J. Koch is a first-year MFA/MBA theatre management student at CSU Long Beach. Originally from Folly Beach, South Carolina, Bailey has experience as a director, dramaturg, and casting director, among other credits. She has previously worked for Playwrights Horizons, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Incubator Arts Project, as well as NBC Universal, Showtime, and Warner Brothers studios. She has also served as a script reader for The Theatre @ Boston Court’s California Playwrights Initiative. She is passionate about diversity and inclusivity in the theatre. She is an alum of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.