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The Otto René Castillo Awards for Political Theatre

The 21st Annual Otto Awards ceremony was held on Monday, May 20, 2019 as part of the annual Castillo Theatre Benefit.

About this year's honorees:

Voza Rivers (above left) is a leading theater, music (GRAMMY nominee) and 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 U.S. 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. He is currently working with celebrated South African, multi-award winning playwright and director Mbongeni Ngema on the Nelson Mandela musical. Rivers is the Chairman of the Harlem Arts Alliance and Vice-Chairman of HARLEM WEEK, celebrating its 45th anniversary.

Falconworks Theatre Company
, founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004, is an intrinsically diverse organization supporting the work of artists, community members and the larger movement for social justice. Our staff, volunteers, and audiences are often from our local community, Red Hook, Brooklyn which houses the largest public housing project in the borough directly adjacent to a rapidly gentrifying waterfront community. Falconworks remains committed to bridging the facets of our community by creating programs that address issues, are inclusive, and provide a space for discussion. We hold free programs close to the housing projects, engage grassroots marketing efforts, and recruit board members who are from the community.  Falconworks Artists Group’s mission is to empower individuals and communities through theater in order to effect social change. Falconworks achieves its aims through theater workshops that cultivate participants’ ability to tell their and their communities’ stories directly to diverse local audiences. Uniting these sometimes-disparate groups, Falconworks engenders local residents with a renewed sense of community and educates them about local issues that affect them all.


At the 2019 Castillo Theatre benefit (pictured above left to right): Castillo's associate managing director, John Rankin III; 2019 Otto Award honoree Voza Rivers, Castillo Theatre 2019 Benefit honoree Veronica Benzinger; Reg Flowers, founder and artistic director of 2019 Otto Award honoree Falconworks Theater Company; Christopher Hammett, treasurer of Falconworks Theater Company; and Diane Stiles, vice president of NY Programs for the All Stars Project.

The Otto Awards (Executive Producer: Diane Stiles) were founded in 1998 to recognize, support and connect theatre companies and artists engaged in creating political, experimental and community-based theatre. They have been awarded to 109 theatres and individual theatre artists from the United States, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Northern Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Pakistan, Serbia and the United Kingdom.

To make a gift on the occasion of the 21st annual Otto René Castillo Awards for Political Theatre in honor of our awardees, please call Liz Garcia at 212-356-8476.
For information about the Otto Awards for Political Theatre
contact Producer John Rankin at 212 356-8430 or by email at 

Pictured above are the 2018 Ottos honorees (front row left to right) Eduardo Machado, Mia Katigbak, Anthony Mosely of Collaboraction and (back row, left to right) Dan Friedman, Beau Willmon, Woodie King, Jr., David Cherry, Diane Stiles and John Rankin III.

For a listing of all winners of the Otto Award for Political Theatre since the award's founding in 1999, please click here!