New York University’s Richard Schechner, University Professor and professor of performance studies in the department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, has been named the 2010 Thalia Award winner by the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC). The award ceremonies will be in Yerevan, Armenia June 16-20, 2010.
IATC is an association of theatre critics, theatre journalists, and theatre scholars in over 50 countries. The Thalia Award, the organization’s highest honor, is given bi-annually to a scholar, theatre critic, or theatre practitioner whose writings have significantly influenced critical thinking about the art of theatre. “We are delighted to add such an eminent man of theatre as Prof. Schechner to the list of Thalia laureates,” said IATC President Kim Yun-Cheol of Korea. Previous winners have included Eric Bentley (2006) and Jean-Pierre Sarrazac (2008).
The Thalia award singles Schechner out for his work as editor of one of the world’s leading theatre journals, TDR (The Drama Review), as well as for his contributions as an author of books that have significantly contributed to the theatre. He first edited the quarterly journal from 1962 to 1969 and then returned to TDR again in 1986. During that time, he has turned it from a rather specialized academic journal into the world’s leading journal on the avant-garde and later helped it to evolve into the premiere journal of Performance Studies. TDR has promoted the work of most of the major avant-garde artists of the late 20th century, from Brook and Grotowski, to Barba, Boal and Suzuki. And through its work in Performance Studies, the journal has changed the way theatre is seen world-wide. In addition, Schechner has also been a tireless theorist of theatre in Asia and Africa. Indeed, an Asian version of TDR is now coming out in Shanghai.
Schechner is the author of numerous books, including Public Domain (1968), Environmental Theatre (1973), The End of Humanism (1981), Between Theatre and Anthropology (1985), By Means of Performance: Intercultural Studies (1990), The Future of Ritual (1993), and Performance Theory (2003), among others. His books have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Parsi, Italian, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Hungarian and Serbo-Croat.
“One other aspect of his lifelong work as a scholar, critic, and editor has been his constant willingness to test his theories as a working director,” added Kim. “He has done this on stages in New York with the Performance Group, the Wooster Group, and the East Coast Artists company, which he ran from 1992 to 2009, as well as the many individual productions he has staged in China, India, South Africa, Poland and Taipei, among other countries. He is truly an international figure and a most worthy winner of this award.”