Dorothy and Richard E. 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 $2,000 honorarium.

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 is now closed. The awardee will be announced at a special online presentation.

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

2021 Sherwood Finalists

D’Lo, Lena Sands, and Mikaal Sulaiman were selected as finalists for the 2021 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.

D’Lo (Performance Artist) D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American actor/writer/comic whose work ranges from stand-up comedy, solo theater, plays, films, short stories and poetry. His solo shows Ramble-Ations, D’FunQT, D’FaQTo Life, and To T, or not To T have toured theaters and festivals nationally, and he is a regular performer/speaker on the college/university circuit. He is currently working on his latest solo called Queer Noise with support from CTG's Library Series and LA LGBT Center. His work has been published or written about in academic journals and anthologies, with features in The Guardian, NBC, and The Advocate. He created the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series with South Asian and/or Immigrant LGBTQ Organizations nationally. His acting credits include: LOOKING, TRANSPARENT, SENSE 8, Mr. ROBOT, CONNECTING and Issa Rae-produced MINIMUM WAGE. Currently, he has a series based on his life that is set up at BTR Media and Paul Feig’s Powderkeg Media. Most recently, D’Lo was awarded the Artist Disruptor Fellowship through the Center for Cultural Performance and 5050x2020 an initiative started by Joey Soloway, and he is also a Civic Media Fellow through USC’s Annenberg School of Innovation funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Lena Sands (Costume Designer) designs costumes for live performance, installation and film. Using a variety of materials and methods to create bold and distinctive visuals, Lena collaborates with ensembles and communities to investigate bodies, histories, and the divine. Her most recent projects include SITI Company’s Bacchae, which portrayed androgynous anarchy in battle with male hierarchy, and four larks’ Frankenstein, a meditation on flesh and obsession. She also designed the Ovation-nominated costumes for Critical Mass Performance Group’s AMERYKA.

Lena has designed for companies including Deaf West Theatre, East West Players, Cornerstone Theatre Company, and Watts Village Theatre Company, and her work has been seen at The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Guthrie Theater, The Wallis, The Kirk Douglas Theater, The Getty Villa, The Skirball Cultural Center, and REDCAT. Her designs for Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks were displayed at the State Historical Museum in Moscow as part of the exhibition “Innovative Costume of the 21st Century: The Next Generation.” Lena has an MFA in Design for Performance from California Institute of the Arts.

Mikaal Sulaiman (Composer, Director, Performance Artist, Sound Designer) Mikaal Sulaiman, originally from Rochester New York, currently resides in Los Angeles working primarily as a sound designer and composer. He attended the University of the Arts receiving a BFA and later studied the Jacque Lecoq approach to avant garde theatre at the London International School of Performing Arts. Mikaal also writes and directs from time to time. He is currently writing and devising an avant-garde headphone play titled Project Black Plague. PBP has received artist residencies at Space on Ryder Farm in Upstate New York, UCross Foundation in Wyoming, as well as VoxFest at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Some of Mikaal’s sound design credits on world premiere shows include: Rags Parkland (Ars Nova) *Lucille Lortel Award winning, Fairview (Soho Rep) *Pulitzer Prize Winner for Drama, and Underground Railroad Game (Ars Nova) *Obie Award Winner. He has received nominations from Bay Area Theatre Critics, Audelco Award, Lucille Lortel Award, and Drama Desk Award for sound detsign. He is also a Henry Hewes Design Award recipient. Mikaal also hosts a podcast, Black Enso, which can be found on most podcast platforms.

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.

2020 Sherwood Fellow

Brianna Saranchock is a proud native of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Having just graduated from the Theatre Academy of Los Angeles City College, she was recognized as an Irene Ryan Nominee for the role of Girl in Hot L Baltimore and Miss Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice; both plays directed by Louie Piday. In her first year at LACC she was part of the ensemble of Freddy, a collaboration with the Fountain Theatre, and in 2019 as part of the Student Directed One-Acts, she had the privilege of directing her first play, Slaughter in the Lake, written by fellow Puerto Rican Jose Rivera. Most recently she assistant directed a production of The Man Who Came to Dinner, directed by Bruce Kimmel at the Lonny Chapman Theatre. Brianna deeply believes in the theatre community of Los Angeles and is honored and thankful to be a part of the Sherwood Fellowship at Center Theatre Group.

To request more information about the Sherwood Fellowship, please email Sherwood@ctgla.org.