Ron Himes Honored at New Federal Theatre 50th Anniversary Virtual Gala

On January 17, 2021, Ron Himes was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Woodie King Jr's New Federal Theatre.

On Sunday, January 17,  2021 Ron Himes was honored at the New Federal Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Gala! Fellow honorees are Cliff Frazier, S. Epatha Merkerson, Ed Pitt,, Phylicia Rashad, Oz Scott, Beth Turner, Gynn Turman and Douglas Turner Ward. 

To read the announcement:

To watch the virtual gala:


Ron Himes is an award-winning director who has been directing over 41 years. He is the founder and producing director of The Black Rep and is the Henry E. Hampton, Jr. Artist-in-Residence at Washington University in St. Louis. He has produced and directed more than 200 plays at The Black Rep, including all ten plays written by August Wilson. His Black Rep directing credits include: Dot, Lines In The Dust, Twisted Melodies, Sunset Baby, Purlie, Black Nativity: A Holiday Celebration, the critically acclaimed productions of Ruined and The Montford Point Marine. Himes also created and directed the highly acclaimed, Crossin ’ Over and Tell Me Somethin’ Good

He has directed a number of world premieres including Torn Asunder, Smash/Hit!, Insidious, Home the MusicalServant of the People, Riffs, and Urban Transitions: Loose Blossoms.  Directing credits from theatres across the country include Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Fences (The Clarence Brown Theatre in Knoxville); The Colored Museum and Blues for an Alabama Sky (Indiana Repertory Theatre); Flyin’ West (Delaware Theatre Company); For Colored Girls.........(People’s Light and Theatre Company in Philadelphia); Riffs (Seven Stages in Atlanta); Spunk, Spell #7, and Radio Golf (Studio Theatre in Washington, D C); One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and I’m Not Rappaport (Old Creamery Theatre in Garrison, IA); and An Enemy of the People (Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, AK).

In 2010 he was a member of the U.S. delegation to the third World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures in Dakar, Senegal and he has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2013 Outstanding Organization of The Year Award from 100 Black Men and The Citizen of The Year Award from the Gateway Classic Foundation, 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award from University College at Washington University, St. Louis 2004 Heroes Pierre Laclede Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, The Arts & Education Council in 2001;
Creative Artist Award, The Better Family Life in 1997; Woodie Award for Outstanding Direction, the St. Louis Black Repertory Company’; and Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1993, and from Washington University in 1997 and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Life and Legacy Award from the National Pan-Hellenic Alumni Council.

New Federal Theatre (NFT) founded by Woodie King, Jr. in 1970, an outgrowth of a theatre program called Mobilization for Youth.  This neighborhood-based professional theatre was originally funded by the Henry Street Settlement along with a small grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.  The theatre’s first season was launched in the basement of St. Augustine’s Church on Henry Street.

Several early successes brought NFT to national prominence: Black Girl by J.E. Franklin, won a Drama Desk Award, The Taking of Miss Janie by Ed Bullins moved from NFT to Lincoln Center, and won the Drama Critics Circle Award; For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange performed on Broadway for 10 months and was nominated for the Tony Award before embarking on a three-year national tour. It has subsequently been performed regionally and around the world, and was revived off-Broadway in 2019. Both plays were co-produced with the late Joseph Papp.

Many performers benefited from early successes on NFT’s stage, including the late Chadwick Boseman, Debbie Allen, Morgan Freeman, Phylicia Rashad, Denzel Washington, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Issa Rae, and many more.

NFT has focused on the production of new works, often by young playwrights . Many plays first premiered at NFT have established the reputations of playwrights who have gone one to bigger successes later in their careers. For example, Charles Fuller premiered two plays at NFT, In My Many Names and Days and The Candidate. He was later to win the Pulitzer Prize for A Soldier’s Play, and David Henry Hwang, premiered The Dance And The Railroad at NFT & was later to win the Drama Desk Award for M. Butterfly.