Wilma Theater Artistic Director Named Winner of $100,000 Vilcek Prize

News   Wilma Theater Artistic Director Named Winner of $100,000 Vilcek Prize The Vilcek Foundation has announced the winners of the annual Vilcek Prizes, recognizing immigrant contributions to the American arts and sciences. Blanka Zizka, co-founder and artistic director of Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater, is the recipient of the top prize of $100,000.

Zizka was born in the former Czechoslovakia and immigrated to the U.S. in 1977. She co-founded the Wilma Theater with Jiri Zizka in 1981. During her tenure, she has helmed internationally challenging works by Athol Fugard, Richard Bean and Ariel Dorfman. The Vilcek Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. Each year, the Vilcek Prizes focus on a different artistic discipline, with 2016 dedicated to theatre. The 2016 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Theatre, presented to three younger immigrant artists (38 years of age or younger) were awarded to Soho Rep artistic director Sarah Benson, stage director Desdemona Chiang and lighting designer Yi Zhao, each a recipient of a $50,000 prize.

"Theatre is extraordinary in its ability to challenge the status quo," said Marica Vilcek, vice president of the Vilcek Foundation."With the Vilcek Prizes in Theatre, we recognize a bold group of immigrant artists whose vision is as original as it is unflinching."

All of the winners will be honored at a ceremony in New York City in April. For more information, visit Vilcek.org.

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