Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015 Founder's Award

Contributed by Nick Micozzi, Shay Gines & Jason Bowcutt


As you all know, we just finished up our 10th anniversary season. It has been a crazy, but entirely enriching decade. We want to thank all of you who have been a part of this organization. We have watched it grow from an impossible idea to an organization that is that has nearly 60,000 members. And so as we celebrate our first 10 years, we are also looking forward to the next 10 years.

At the Innovative Theatre Foundation, we are all about honoring and recognizing people who have made a big difference to the Indie Theatre Community and recently we had the opportunity to continue a tradition that we started in our first year. We have a very special award called the Founders Award that is given to individuals that the Foundation’s Founders (
Jason, Shay, and Nick) feel have made an extraordinary contribution to the organization. It is not given every year. It is rare, but very meaningful to us.

In our first year, it was presented to Paul Adams, who was a major inspiration and provided some important infrastructure support during our formative years. In our fifth year, it was presented to Akia Squiteri who is a beautiful force within our organization and has given it her heart and soul.

Now in our tenth year we are so excited to recognize someone whose generosity and vision is helping to ensure that our organization will be around for another ten years and beyond.
For several years, there has been a gentleman who has been a huge support to the Innovative Theatre Foundation. In fact, since the 1960’s he has been quietly supporting independent artists, Off-Off-Broadway, the avant garde; giving these artists and companies funding at crucial moments in their development. He has even written a book called the Avant Guardian: A Theatre Foundations Director’s 25 Years Off-Broadway about his experiences in theatre and supporting new, unusual works and experimental ideas.

We were honored to present the Founders Award to a “Fucking Legend” (if you have the chance, ask him about the story behind that moniker), Mr. Donn Russell.

Donn Russell, A Fucking Legend
Photos by Marc Goldberg

We are truly grateful that he has decided to invest in the Innovative Theatre Foundation and is entrusting us to help further his mission.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

IT Foundation Presents Founders Award & Receives Major Funding

New York, NY - At a special event on Monday, January 12, 2015, The Innovative Theatre Foundation (IT Foundation), the organization dedicated to celebrating Off-Off-Broadway, announced that they are receiving a major endowment of $200,000 from philanthropist Donn Russell.

Donn Russell receives the Founder's Award
Photos by Marc Goldberg
Over the last half century, Donn Russell has dedicated himself to nurturing the performing arts in lower Manhattan and elsewhere with donations and grants mainly for non-traditional theater endeavors. First as a co-founder and director of the Peg Santvoord Foundation beginning in 1965, which donated seminal aid to a number of the talented individuals and groups who are well known in Off and Off-Off-Broadway circles today. On his own he has endeavored to seek out and provide support to the most gifted experimental innovators in the field. His book, AVANT-GUARDIAN: 1965-1990: A Theater Foundation Director’s 25 Years Off Broadway, attests to it.

“Since today’s protagonists themselves have embraced such far-reaching  technical advances that allow for amazing presentations undreamed of earlier, I encourage them by funding an organization such as the Innovative Theatre Foundation, that is then capable of granting awards- and recognition -to a far broader range of performance-related categories than ever before,” said Russell.

Through the New York Innovative Theatre Awards, the IT Foundation brings recognition to the amazing work being done Off-Off-Broadway. Over the past ten years, the IT Awards has honored over 1,800 individual artists, over 500 productions, and 420 theatre companies.

“We are truly honored that Donn has decided to invest in the Innovative Theatre Foundation and is entrusting us to help further his mission of supporting Indie Theatre,” said Co-Executive Director, Shay Gines.

As a part of the evening, Executive Directors Gines and Nick Micozzi presented Russell with the Founders Award, which is given to individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to the Foundation. “This is a special award that has previously been presented only in our first year and our fifth year and now in celebration of our tenth year we are excited to recognize someone whose generosity and vision is helping to ensure that our organization will be around for another 10 years and beyond,” said Micozzi.

While specifics on how this money will be spent have not yet been made public, the Foundation has confirmed that a portion of the funding will be used for organizational infrastructure and a portion will be passed onto the artists and companies working Off-Off-Broadway. “We have lots of big surprises planned for the next few years,” said Gines.


The Innovative Theatre Foundation is a not-for-profit organization recognizing the great work of New York City's Off-Off-Broadway, honoring its artistic heritage, and providing a meeting ground for this extensive and richly varied community. The organization advocates for Off-Off-Broadway and recognizes the unique and essential role it plays in contributing to American and global culture. They believe that publicly recognizing excellence in Off-Off-Broadway will expand audience awareness and foster greater appreciation of the New York 
theatre experience.

Sponsors: Theatre Development Fund’s Costume Collection, Kampfire Films PR and United Stages

For More Information, press pack, photos, EPK of previous Awards Show, please contact Press Agent: Katie Rosin