NEW YORK, NY– On July 4, 2022, Honor Roll!, the 1,700-member organization founded to support women+ playwrights over 40, announced the first recipients of Honor Roll! Honors.
Honor Roll! Honors recognizes the extraordinary work these individuals and organizations have done—and continue to do—on behalf of older women+ playwrights. Women+ playwrights over 40 are among the most marginalized theatre professionals working today. Ageism and gender bias intersect with race and sexuality, making the work done by Honor Roll! Honors recipients especially important.
Honors were awarded in four separate categories, and the winners are:
Outstanding Individual – Eleanore Speert
Outstanding Producer – Caytha Jentis and Eileen Katz of Gold Standard Arts Festival
Outstanding Publisher – ARTemis Arts, Sam Hull, Founder
Inclusionary Festival – Plays for Us, Dee Pelletier and Kathryn Markey, Founders
Nominations for Honor Roll! Honors were gathered from among the organization’s 1,700 members and the honorees were selected from those nominees by the organization’s Executive Committee.
For over 40 years, Outstanding Individual recipient Eleanore Speert has helped women playwrights get their work out into the world. She served as Publication Director at Dramatists Play Service for ten years, working intimately with playwrights and shepherding them through the entire publication process. Following her term at DPS, she worked as the Buyer for The Drama Book Shop, paying special attention to the works of women playwrights, finding self-published playwrights to showcase in the shop, and helping other playwrights through the publishing and self-publishing process. Eleanore also started her own publishing house to aid emerging women playwrights who can’t find access elsewhere.
Outstanding Producers Caytha Jentis and Eileen Katz of the Gold Standard Arts Festival created this mammoth week-long festival in April 2022 to celebrate emerging and established artists who are 50+. Gold Standard Arts Festival was held on New York’s Upper West Side and featured films, comedy, plays, cabaret, jazz, art, and theatre. To make this festival happen, Caytha and Eileen set up an advisory board, and raised both the money and awareness to make the project a success.
ARTemis Arts, founded by Sam Hull, is receiving the Arts Outstanding Publisher honor for the ARTemis Arts’ Women’s Wisdom Anthology, which features plays and screenplays by fourteen women ages 50+. The book, which has a unanimous five-star rating on Amazon and was ranked number three for playwriting as of December 2021, is the very first compilation of plays and screenplays by women ages 50 and older ever published.
Plays for Us founders Dee Pelletier and Kathryn Markey are receiving the Inclusionary Festival honor for creating an informal reading series for new plays that are largely written by women 40+ and feature great roles for women in middle age and up. This curated series of cold play readings has presented 28 evenings of work, including 44 women playwrights, since its founding in 2020.
Each Honor Roll! Honors recipient will receive a certificate from the organization, and Honor Roll! plans to make the Honors program an annual event.
Honor Roll! Honors was initiated by member Marjorie Bicknell who worked with members Olga Humphrey and Sarah Tuft.
Honor Roll! is an advocacy and action group of women+ playwrights over 40 and our allies, whose goal is our inclusion in theatre. We are the generation excluded at the outset of our careers because of sexism, now overlooked because of ageism. We celebrate diversity in theatre and work to eliminate age discrimination as it intersects with sexism and other biases including those based on race, gender identity, ethnicity, faith, socioeconomic status, disability, and sexual orientation in the American theatre and beyond.