The American Theatre Wing and the Village Voice are thrilled to announce that James Houghton, the Founding Artistic Director of Signature Theatre, will receive a special OBIE Award for Sustained Achievement at the 60th Annual OBIE Awards, which will be held on Monday, May 18, 2015 at Webster Hall (125 East 11th Street).
James Houghton is the Founding Artistic Director of Signature Theatre, the first nonprofit theatre company in the United States to devote each season of productions to the work of a single living playwright. Under his leadership, Signature recently opened the Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center, featuring three theatres, two rehearsal spaces and public lobby with café, bar and bookstore, and expanded programming including two additional playwrights’ residency programs. Signature and its artists have received many accolades, including the Pulitzer Prize, Obie Awards, Drama Desk Awards, Lucille Lortel Awards, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. In 2003, Signature was named “National Theatre of the Year” by the National Theatre Conference. In 2014, Signature Theatre became the first Off-Broadway theatre to be honored with the Regional Tony Award. Since 2006, Mr. Houghton has also served as the Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division at The Juilliard School. To enhance the program, Mr. Houghton and the Drama Division initiated significant new programming and opportunities for students. Among these opportunities are a new Master of Fine Arts Program, which offers free tuition and a living stipend during the fourth and final year of training; the introduction of a Playwrights Festival featuring performances of plays written by students of the renowned Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program; and a bridge to the profession through the creation of the Professional Studio hosted by Signature Theatre, allowing Juilliard’s actors and writers to collaborate closely and build lasting artistic relationships. Mr. Houghton has been honored by The Acting Company with the 2012 John Houseman Award for his profound commitment to developing American actors and building a diverse audience for the theatre, as well as the William Inge Festival’s 1998 Margo Jones Medal for an outstanding contribution to the American theatre. In 2013, he was inducted into the College of the Fellows of the American Theatre and presented with an honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts by his alma mater, Santa Clara University. Mr. Houghton has also served as the Artistic Director of the O’Neill Playwrights Conference (1999-2003), Artistic Director of the New Harmony Project (1996-1999), and the Artistic Advisor to the Guthrie Theater (1998-2012).