And the Award Goes To…

The Barrymore Awards is enlisting the Bok Building as the site of its 25th ceremony to honor area theater.

South Philadelphia has long served as the home of many accomplished and burgeoning thespians, with its neighborhoods also gaining recognition as welcoming performance locations. From 7 to 9 p.m on Monday October 14, Theatre Philadelphia will further appreciation for their efforts and those of their peers outside of the environs through the 25th Barrymore Awards celebration, with The Bok Building, 800 Mifflin St., earning hosting duties.

Hundreds of nominees, artists, and avid theatergoers will venture to the Bok Building on Monday. Credit: Theatre Philadelphia

“There are very few spaces in town where you can have a full theater and a party for over 600 people in one location. Bok is one of them!” exclaimed Theatre Philadelphia executive director Leigh Goldenberg, giving a nod to the evening’s two-hour rooftop block of revelry that will follow the distribution of awards.

The Passyunk Square resident has held her position since early 2017, and that year yielded the idea to use the East Passyunk Crossing space as the site for local theater’s biggest night. Running into a friend who was assisting with a screening event in the auditorium, she inspected the gathering place and knew immediately that she would want to stage a large-scale occasion there. Having determined that nearly 50 percent of prior Barrymore Awards celebrations’ attendees call the zip codes around Bok home, Goldenberg knew she had a winner for her employer, with the former high school haunt set to oversee its second ceremony.

Twenty-four categories and a lifetime achievement award will comprise the ceremony. Credit: Theatre Philadelphia

The Barrymore Awards’ season comprised more than 100 plays, a haul that the executive director noted has succeeded in “showcasing such a fantastic diversity of work that represents our region.” With 24 categories and a lifetime achievement commendation to endow, the Barrymores will mark a quarter-century’s worth of distinguished creations as the longest-standing program for Theatre Philadelphia, a point that fills Goldenberg with pride.

“You can really track the 25 years of the Barrymores alongside the growth of our theatre community,” she said. “By telling folks, both here and nationally, which artists are changing the game, we have helped to stake our claim as a great theater city and not just [as] a place to see theater but a place to live and make your home while you are creating theater.”

Therefore, if someone is seeking an introduction to Philadelphia’s theater community, an opportunity to fraternize with tireless professionals and a chance to celebrate their feats in a beloved space, making plans for Monday night is a cinch.

“We are working year-round to tell residents and visitors that we have a wide variety of theater—in many neighborhoods, at many price points and with many different perspectives and approaches,” Goldenberg added. “There’s something for everyone, and the nominees and artists featured in this year’s Barrymore ceremony represent that.”