The event was held on May, 20th 2019 at the All Stars Project Performance Space on West 42nd Street in New York City. The Otto Awards produced by the Castillo Theatre were established in 1998 to recognize and support the ongoing development of political theater internationally.
The Awards Committee made up of past recipients, recommend a slate of honorees each year. Over the years such politically engaged theatre companies and artists as Laurie Anderson, John O’Neal, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Pregones Theatre, David Edgar, Katori Hall, Bread and Puppet Theater, Ed Bullins, Joseph Chaikin, Kathleen Chalfant, the Living Theatre, Charles Mee, Richard Schechner, Split Britches, Ellen Stewart, Kia Corthron, El Teatro Campesino, Robert Wilson, Mia Katigbak, and Collaboration among many others, have received Otto Awards in recognition of their cutting-edge and/or community-based work.
The Ottos one of the programs of the All Stars Project whose mission is to transform the lives of youth and poor communities through the developmental power of performance, in partnership with caring adults. Castillo has a 36-year history of producing cutting-edge, experimental, socially relevant theatre.
Voza Rivers is a leading theater, music, GRAMMY-nominated events producer and documentary filmmaker. Born in Harlem, New York, Rivers is the executive producer and founding member of the New Heritage Theatre Group (established in 1964) and executive producer and co-founder of IMPACT Repertory Theatre, the Oscar-nominated youth division of New Heritage Theatre Group led by director, activist and educator professor Jamal Joseph. Rivers has produced and co-produced theater, music, concerts, television projects, film festivals and memorial tributes in the United States for activists and legendary musicians. His career credits also include theatrical projects from Japan and Cuba.
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He is currently working with celebrated South African multi-award winning playwright and director Mbongeni Ngema on a Nelson Mandela musical. Rivers is the Chairman of the Harlem Arts Alliance and Vice-Chairman of HARLEM WEEK, celebrating its 45th anniversary.
Photo credit: 1) Voza Rivers and Executive Producer of the Otto Awards Diane Stiles.. 2) Voza Rivers and the hosts of the Otto Awards Paul Calderon & David Zayas.