Bening will be presented with the honor at STC's annual gala on Oct. 3 at Sidney Harman Hall. The annual award recognizes an artist "who has made a significant contribution to classical theatre in America."
"Annette has received great critical acclaim for her recent performances of Medea and The Cherry Orchard in Los Angeles," STC artistic director Michael Kahn said in a statement. "While primarily known for her wonderful film oeuvre, she started her career performing Shakespeare and other classics at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Her success proves what I have long believed: that a well-trained classical actor can perform anything."
An Academy Award nominee for her roles in "Being Julia," "American Beauty" and "The Grifters," Bening appeared on Broadway in Coastal Disturbances, earning a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award for her performance. The actress also starred in the Actors Fund reading of "All About Eve" at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre last November. She can currently be seen in the film "The Kids Are All Right."
Previous Shakespeare Award recipients include Ian McKellen, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Judi Dench, Fiona Shaw, Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins, Maggie Smith, Hal Holbrook, Patrick Stewart, Sam Waterston, Lynn Redgrave, Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Kenneth Branagh, Christopher Plummer, Kevin Kline, Joseph Papp and Shakespeare Theatre Company artistic director Kahn.