The Philadelphia Award for Social Insight seeks to honor the spirit of Philadelphia by acknowledging a production from any period or genre that demonstrates the ability of theatre to illuminate the way we live and interact with others as we seek to build community. The award recognizes a production that leaves its audience with a deeper appreciation of the people we interact with, and a more focused understanding of the conditions and interactions inherent in our social world. A production that provides a new, or enhanced, understanding about the lives, histories or specific situation of which we may not be familiar or cognizant.
Formerly known as the “Brown Martin Award” the name was changed to more accurately reflect its mission, which is to honor the spirit of Philadelphia by celebrating theater that brings its audiences deeper insight into the remarkable diversity that is humanity. Funded by the Virginia Brown Martin Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, this special Barrymore Award includes a $25,000 cash prize for the recipient and $2500 for the finalist.
The last couple of years have been a challenge for all of us, but they have been especially hard on the performing arts. The Virginia Brown Martin Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation is pleased to be able to make a small contribution to the re-emergence of Philadelphia Theater.
Runner-up for this year is Theatre Exile’s production of “The Mother Fucker With the Hat”. Set in the “mean streets” of Manhattan’s upper east side, the play takes us inside the lives of people struggling with poverty, incarceration, addiction, and violence. It's also a comedy.
For the 2021-2022 theatre season, the winner of the Philadelphia Award for Social Insight will be given to Quintessence Theatre Group for their production of “Flyin’ West”, a play that recounts the challenges faced by a group of Black women in 1898 who took advantage of the Homestead Act, braved the journey west and settled in the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas.
Learn more about the Philadelphia Award for Social Insight at https://theatrephiladelphia.org/about-the-barrymore-awards.