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2006 Recipient - Douglas Turner Ward

Negro Ensemble Company co-founder, actor, director, and playwright was born in Burnside, Louisiana. At the age of nineteen, Ward went to New York City where he became politically involved and worked as a journalist. He, then, decided to become a playwright and studied at the Paul Mann Workshop in New York City. In 1956, he began his off-Broadway career as an actor in Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. He went on to perform and understudy for a part in A Raisin In The Sun. In 1965, Ward, Robert Hooks, and Gerald Krone formed the Negro Ensemble Company. Ward made his playwriting debut that same year withHappy Ending/Day of Absence. In 1967, the Negro Ensemble Company was officially opened with Ward serving as artistic director. Some of the company's notable productions include A Soldier's Play and The River Niger. The River Niger became the company's first play to go to Broadway, and also won a Tony Award for Best Play. Ward has gone on to write other plays including, The Reckoning and Brotherhood.