Annual Gala


Watch the Highlights from the 2023 Gala!



Celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday


Monday, May 15, 2023
Gala and Silent Auction

130 Bowery, New York City

6:30 PM EDT Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction
7:30 PM EDT Dinner and Program

Featuring the 19th Presentation of the Samuel H. Scripps Award
for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement to

Leading Shakespeare scholar and
member of the TFANA’s Council of Scholars

Presented by Harry Lennix

And the 12th Presentation of the Life in Art Award to

Actress, leading New York philanthropist,
and longtime TFANA Board Member

Presented by Kate D. Levin,
Bloomberg Associates


Gala Co-Chairs

Kathleen C. Walsh
Stephanie Ingrassia



Ayanna Thompson

Audrey Heffernan Meyer

Harry Lennix

Kate D. Levin

Maurice Jones


Lead Sponsor


Buy Tickets or Tables for the Annual Spring Gala



For Corporate Table Sponsorship, contact James Lynes: or 646-553-3886.




Table Sponsorships

Co-Sponsor: Premier table for 10, logo on invitation and program, with tribute ad (or logo) on screens at the event and on the Theatre’s Gala Auction website.

Partner: Premium table for 10, Partner listing on invitation and program, with tribute ad (or logo) on screens at the event and listing on the Theatre’s Gala Auction website

Patron: Priority table for 10, Patron listing on invitation and program, with tribute ad (or logo) on screens at the event and listing on the Theatre’s Gala Auction website.

Benefactor: Table for 10, Benefactor listing on invitation and program, with tribute ad (or logo) on screens at the event and listing on the Theatre’s Gala Auction website.


Gala Tickets

$2,500 Supporter Ticket(s): Priority seating and Supporter listing on the invitation and program.

$1,500 Donor Ticket(s): Preferred seating and Donor listing on the invitation and program.

All but $200 per ticket is tax-deductible


Celebrate the Theatre or the evening’s Honorees with a Tribute Ad (or logo) projected on screens at the event

$2,500 for a fully tax-deductible tribute ad (or logo) displayed on screens at the event) 

Make a general contribution

Amount: $

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To make a pledge and to pay by check or other method, please contact Olivia Laskin at or call at 646-553-3894.

The Annual Gala raises significant support for TFANA’s critically-acclaimed and award-winning productions, as well as for its in-depth education programs that serve public school students in every borough of New York City.

Theatre for a New Audience’s elegant and entertaining Gala is attended by many of New York’s leading arts patrons and has been hosted by eminent theatre artists such as Jessica Hecht, Alfred Molina, Kristine Nielsen, and Maggie Siff. The Gala includes a cocktail reception, auction, seated dinner, and program.


About the Honorees

Ayanna Thompson is a current member of TFANA’s Council of Scholars and a former chair. She is a Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University, and the Director of the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies (ACMRS). She is the author of numerous books including, Blackface (Bloomsbury, 2021), Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose: A Student-Centred Approach, co-authored with Laura Turchi (Arden Bloomsbury, 2016), and Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (Oxford University Press, 2011). Her dramaturgical stage work includes Consulting Scholar for TFANA’s 2022 production of The Merchant of Venice, featuring John Douglas Thompson as Shylock, directed by Arin Arbus; and Dramaturgy and Text Consultant for the 2022 Broadway production of Macbeth starring Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga, directed by Sam Gold. In 2020 Thompson became a Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at The Public Theater in New York. In 2021, she joined the boards of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Parks Arts Foundation, and Play On Shakespeare. Previously, she served as the President of the Shakespeare Association of America.


Audrey Heffernan Meyer has been a beloved Board Member of Theatre for A New Audience for nearly 30 years. She served as Vice Chair of the successful $69 million Capital Campaign for Polonsky Shakespeare Center, TFANA’s permanent home in Brooklyn, and has been the Chair of the Theatre’s current Capital Campaign.

Audrey has been involved in the arts in New York since 1980 when she moved here with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Pennsylvania State University. As a professional actor in the 1980s, she appeared in musicals and dramas in NYC and regional theaters, and in commercials, films, and soap operas.

Audrey also pursued a business career in advertising at Manhattan, Inc. Magazine, and at Condé Nast Publications, as a Sales Development Manager for Gourmet Magazine. She parlayed her marketing and sales expertise into becoming a fundraiser and supporter for not-for-profit arts organizations throughout New York City.

In addition to her commitment to TFANA, Audrey is a patron of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Conservation program and of the Museum of Modern Art’s Education program. She supports the Park Avenue Armory, the Brooklyn Museum, BAM, the Brooklyn Public Library, Vineyard Theatre, The Public Theater, Bronx Opera Company, and Astoria Performing Arts Center. In addition, she is a supporter of NYU Langone Hospital’s Vulnerable Brain Project and Madison Square Park Conservancy. In Washington, CT, she serves as a trustee of Steep Rock Land Preserve, and is a supporter of Pilobolus Dance Company. Audrey has served on the Parents’ Leadership Councils at Yale University and Washington University in St. Louis, and on the Advisory board of the Fine Arts Center of Colorado College.

Her current full-time career in the theatre includes appearing in musicals and dramas Off Broadway, and in regional theatres; she also co-produced the play From Silence at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Her TV appearances include roles in The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Billions. She studied acting with William Esper, Austin Pendleton at HB Studio, and voice with Metropolitan Opera tenor Felix Knight, as well as Andrew Byrne and Chris York.

Audrey resides in New York City with husband Danny Meyer, Founder and Executive Chairman of Union Square Hospitality Group, and their four grown children.



    The Samuel H. Scripps Award


Samuel H. Scripps (left) was a visionary philanthropist who played a pivotal role in supporting theatre and dance. For Theatre for a New Audience, Samuel Scripps made a leadership gift to enable the Theatre to expand its body of work in Shakespeare and classical drama and increase its season from two to three annual productions. Samuel Scripps championed Shakespeare’s Globe in London. He has provided leadership support to BAM, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the American Dance Festival and the American Society for Eastern Arts where one summer in the 1970s, Julie Taymor first studied Asian art. This directly led to her study in Indonesia – an experience which has profoundly influenced her as an artist. Each year, we honor a great artist with the Samuel H. Scripps Award for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement.

Past Scripps Honorees

Arin Arbus
Arin Arbus jdtbw
Merchant of Venice 1 - 158x158gray Gala-John-Turturro-pic-158x158-B&W Michael Boyd circa 2007
Past Scripps Honorees:
Harry Lennix (2022), Marie Maignan (2021), Jeffrey Horowitz (2020), Christian Camargo (2019), Arin Arbus (2018), Bartlett Sher (2017), Kathryn Hunter (2016), John Douglas Thompson (2015), F. Murray Abraham (2014), John Turturro (2013), Michael Boyd (2012), Robert Woodruff (2011), Julie Taymor (2010), Elliot Goldenthal (2010), Mark Rylance (2009), Wallace Shawn (2008), Cicely Berry CBE, Hon.D. Lit (2007), Tony Kushner (2006), and Robert Neff Williams (2005).

The Life in Art Award

Theatre for a New Audience’s Life in Art Award honors the achievements of individuals whose support for theatre has set the standard for leadership and generosity, and whose example has inspired others to ensure that theatre remains a vibrant part of our cultural life.  The award, a signed giclée print by Milton Glaser, is named for the autobiography by the great theatre artist Constantin Stanislavski, My Life in Art.

Past Life in Art Honorees

Terry Christensen
Terry Christensen
Polonsky-Photo BarrySalzberg_150x150 Ted-2-(2)
Past Life in Art Honorees:
Sally Brody (2022), Amanda Riegel and the Thompson Family Foundation (2021), Barbara G. Fleischman (2020), Anne Tatlock (2019), Terry Christensen (2018), Richard E. Feldman and the SHS Foundation (2017), Elayne Bernstein and Sol Schwartz (2016), Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, LLP. (2015), Leonard Polonsky and Georgette Bennett (2014), Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (2013), Theodore C. Rogers, Former TFANA Board Chair (2012).