The 65th Annual Obie Awards, honoring Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions and artists, will be postponed and celebrated virtually in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This year's event will shine a light on the shows that were lost due to closures, with awards co-organizer the American Theater Wing establishing a relief fund for artists impacted by the cancellations.
Supported by the Edwin Barbey Charitable Trust and the theatrical production company No Guarantees, ATW's $250,000 Theatre Artists Relief Fund will grant Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway artists $500 each to help sustain them during the ongoing, mandatory shutdowns. Learn more, including information on how to apply for funds, here.
The Theatre Artists Relief Fund was established by ATW and the Obie Awards Judges Panel, co-chaired by scenic designer Rachel Hauck and choreographer Sam Pinkleton. The relief effort is part of the first phase of ATW's National COVID-19 Response Effort, which also includes an immediate round of grants offered to 82 regional theatres through the National Rapid Relief Fund, and the launch of new virtual master classes.
The 2020 Obie Awards, which is co-presented by The Village Voice, were originally scheduled for May 18 at Terminal 5 in Manhattan. A date and additional details for the virtual event will be announced shortly.
“There has likely never been a more important time to celebrate the work of Off- and Off-Off-Broadway artists," says ATW President and CEO Heather Hitchens. "While we won’t be able to hold the kind of ceremony we normally do, we knew we needed to find a way to preserve the Obie tradition and honor the work of this remarkable season. We will, as usual, provide the laughs and the awards, but this year the beer is strictly BYOB.”
Unlike most theatre awards, the Obies do not present accolades in traditional categories or nominating processes. Instead, the judging panel convenes to determine honors worthy of distinction based on that particular season.
Check out photos from last year's event.