At the first annual DAINTY Awards, No Rules Theatre Co. honored Jeremy Skidmore for his contributions to the D.C. theatre scene.
By Julie LaPorte
Hosted by Co-Artistic Directors Joshua Morgan and Brian Sutow, No Rules Theatre Co. presented its first annual Distinguished Artists in Their Youth Award to director and producer Jeremy Skidmore. For over 10 years, Skidmore has been a tireless champion of the D.C. theatre scene, with a resume as broad as it is dense.
Roger Yoerges, No Rules Theatre Co.’s Chairman of the Board, summed Skidmore up simply: “He’s a force of nature.” For the past two years, Skidmore has produced the Source Festival, a city-wide festival for the arts. He also worked with Adele and Bruce Robey to establish the H Street Playhouse and help spark the revitalization of the H Street Corridor. While serving as Artistic Director at Theater Alliance for six years, he produced 22 productions that garnered 22 Helen Hayes nominations. And now he is pursuing an MBA.
“The idea of going back to get my MBA is to try to bring my skills as a business person closer to my experience to those as an artist,” Skidmore said. “And to try to find a balance, because more and more theatre companies are starting to hire a single person to run both artistic and business instead of a two-person model that has been the tradition for about 50 years.”
Skidmore named many people who have shaped him as a director (Howard Shalwitz, Ari Roth, Michael Khan, Molly Smith and Blake Robison), but he gave special praise to Aaron Posner saying, “Most of who I am is because of him.”
In addition to the award ceremony, the night was also a celebration and wrap up of No Rules Theatre Co.’s inaugural season, featuring highlights from this season – video clips from Some Girls and songs from Hedwig and the Angry Itch – as well as previews for next – with songs from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and scenes from Touch.
Morgan and Sutow were affectionately referred to by almost everyone there as ‘the boys,’ and the atmosphere of the evening – with their family, friends and supporters gathered close – was one of parental pride. But it was well-deserved. For in a city of already spectacular theatre, No Rules feels like a breath of fresh air. Victor Shargai, Chairman of the Board of the Helen Hayes Awards, said, “I was blown away by them. They’re already professional – way up here,” holding his arm up. “Where are they going to go? Up here,” moving his arm even higher.
Splitting their time between two cities – Winston-Salem and Washington, D.C. – was, they admit, a risky decision. “It was a little scary,” said Morgan. “But I think it may be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made in terms of the support from two sides. Two communities feeding into one another.”
Yoerges agrees. “I think why it works in D.C. is because this is a really smart group of people doing really smart, good work. And I think where D.C. theatre is right now is more than ready for really smart, interesting, well-done works. This seemed like the right place for an exciting, new company to come.”