Pearl Cleage, Dale R. Shields, and Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City Receive Paul Robeson Awards
Pearl Cleage
Pearl Cleage

New York – Actors’ Equity Association and Actors’ Equity Foundation have announced Dale R. Shields,  Pearl Cleage, and The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City as the recipients of the 2021, 2022, and 2023 Paul Robeson Awards, respectively. The awards are the only of their kind to be jointly administered by the actors and stage managers union and the foundation supporting the professional theatrical community.

“These honorees exemplify the values Robeson stood for,” said DeBorah Sharpe-Taylor, chair of Equity’s Paul Robeson Award Committee, in a statement. “They exemplify how the theatre and social justice are bound, because the pursuit of justice and live theatre are foundational pillars in the creation of a worthwhile artistic experience.”

The Paul Robeson Award has been given annually since Robeson received the first Citation in 1974. It honors individuals who leverage theatre to go beyond the stage to enact their commitment to the freedom of expression and conscience.

Shields is an actor, stage manager, director, and educator. He has worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and throughout the country as an artist, and his accolades include the Ohio University Legend Award, the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, the AUDELCO/“VIV” Special Achievement Award, and the Entertainment Community’s Fund’s Encore Award. 

Cleage is a playwright currently in residence at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Her plays include Flyin’ West, Blues for an Alabama Sky, and Bourbon at the Border. The first poet laureate of Atlanta, Cleage is also the artistic director of Just Us Theater Company. As a political activist, her causes include AIDS, women’s rights, and participatory democracy. 

Since 2016, the Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City has educated and inspired the greater Kansas City community by presenting and promoting appreciation for African American culture through stories of the African American experience.