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.

Applications for the 2020 Sherwood Award are now closed. The awardee will be announced at the LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards.

For more information or any questions about the Sherwood Award, please contact Sherwood@CTGLA.org.

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 Finalists

Sigrid Gilmer, Alexandra Meda, and Mat Diafos Sweeney were selected as finalists for the 2020 Sherwood Award for their exceptional contributions to the Los Angeles theatre landscape, their enthusiasm in pushing formal and aesthetic boundaries, and their demonstrated dedication to improving their respective artistic fields.

Sigrid Gilmer (Playwright) makes black comedies that are historically bent, totally perverse, joyfully irreverent, and concerned with issues of identity, pop culture, and contemporary American society. Sigrid burst onto the national theatre scene with her play Harry and the Thief, an action film/historical/time travel play about a thief who is blackmailed into traveling back in time to deliver a cache of arms to Harriet Tubman. It has since been produced across the country, including: Pavement Group (Chicago), the Know Theatre (Cincinnati), and the Skylight Theatre (L.A.). Additional select works include Slavey (Clubbed Thumb), Seed: A Weird Act of Faith, It’s All Bueno (Cornerstone Theater Company), Frilly, and Mama Metal (IAMA Theatre Company). Her television work includes: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix) and Claws (TNT). Sigrid has an MFA in writing for performance from Cal Arts, where she was mentored by Suzan-Lori Parks. She resides in Los Angeles.

Alexandra Meda (Artistic Director, Director, and Creative Producer). As a stage director, culture-producer, disrupter for social justice, and a digital media creator, Meda generates original works through collective/ensemble practice that is engaged both in person and virtually with artists and changemakers across the globe. As a devised theatre maker she nurtures female-driven spaces that center WOC in rich collaborations between the community, performers, scholars, designers, thinkers, and artists. With her work, she aims to positively shift how we interact with, look at, and value the femme body. She is the Artistic Director for Teatro Luna + Teatro Luna West, a national Latinx/WOC collective that tours internationally with ensembles founded in 2000 in Chicago and 2014 in Los Angeles. In 2018 she opened up Studio Luna, a performance and EDI workshop laboratory for new work, community gathering, and thought. This spring she directed and co-produced an Audible Original called Talking While Female & Other Dangerous Acts, featuring 25 short solo plays with original music with a forthcoming podcast of the same title. Currently, she is finishing development on The Times, the third play in Teatro Luna’s trilogy on themes of violence against women, which goes on tour in 2020 through the support of a National Touring & Development grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts. The trilogy begins with Generation Sex, which world premiered at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in 2015, Lovesick, workshopped in 2017 at the DESTINOS International Latino Theatre Festival in Chicago, and culminates with The Times, which is a production with an accompanying museum exhibit documenting the last decade of violence against women of color by women of color. She has a forthcoming book project on the relationship between collaboration, failure, and innovation with Dr. Liza Ann Acosta, contributes to the National Cultural Navigations Project, is a steering committee member of The Jubilee and the Latinx Theatre Commons–both national movements for equity and parity in theatre, and works with The Latinx Theatre Alliance, Los Angeles. Since 2017 you can find her facilitating creative renewal, collaborative leadership, and leading change retreats, workshops, and training in her favorite cities around the world. She is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University and you can follow her work at alexandracollaborates.com.

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 semi-finalists. The semi-finalist 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 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.