Vinie Burrows was awarded the 2020 Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement during the 65th Annual Obie Awards ceremony on July 14, 2020.
The ceremony was hosted by entertainer Cole Escola, and continued its tradition of honoring the best in Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theater.
Presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Village Voice, the 2020 Obie Award ceremony recognized Ms. Burrows for her radical embrace of art and life, and for the strength and inspiration she has given to the world.
Obie Award Citation
This actress isn’t just a part of theatre history; she embodies it. In a career spanning seven decades, she has appeared with Helen Hayes, Mary Martin, and Taylor Mac, and performed in the works of Thornton Wilder, Jean Genet, and Richard Maxwell. With a repertory of eight solo shows performed more than 6,000 times on tour across America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, she has created space and visibility for Black artists in the theatre. As an activist, she has spoken internationally and at the UN on issues of peace and disarmament, racial discrimination, women’s equality, and economic and social development. Her tenacity and skill are matched only by her openness to new forms and her bottomless vitality. “My strength comes from those who came before me, as a Black person,” she has said, “their struggle gives me strength.”
Ms. Burrows appeared on Broadway in the 1950’s and 60’s in MANDINGO, THE PONDER HEART, THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, MRS. PATTERSON, THE GREEN PASTURES and THE WISTERIA TREES. Her other numerous stage productions during her long career, include SISTER! SISTER!, BEL CANTO and BLACK ON THE GREAT WHITE WAY: THE STORY OF ROSE McCLENDON. She has been active at the United Nations Economic and Social Council on the issues of the status of women and Southern Africa, and as an associate of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press. She received the Paul Robson Award in 1986. vinieburrows.com
The full ceremony is available on the American Theatre Wing’s official YouTube channel.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
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