Annual Gala


Celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday

May 15, 2018


130 Bowery, New York City

6:30pm Cocktail Reception
7:30pm Seated Dinner

Gala Co-Chairs:
John J. Kerr, Jr.
Kathleen C. Walsh

Presenting the fourteenth 
Samuel H. Scripps Award for
Artistic Achievement in Theatre to
Arin Arbus 

Arin Arbus first came to Theatre for a New Audience more than 10 years ago as an assistant director. Promoted to Associate Artistic Director, in 2008 she was offered to direct Othello, her first professional production and her first production of Shakespeare, featuring Juliet Rylance and John Douglas Thompson. The New York Times hailed it as “the most sensitively directed, eloquently designed and impeccably acted productions of a Shakespeare tragedy that the city has seen in years,” and declared Arbus “a star in the making.” The Theatre invested in her nurture and development as a theatre artist and she is now one of the leading directors of Shakespeare, and one of only a few woman who have directed so many of Shakespeare plays Off-Broadway.

Now a resident artist of the Theatre, she has directed 10 productions for the Theatre including The Winter’s TaleThe Skin of Our Teeth (Obie), repertory productions of Strindberg’s The Father and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, as well as King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Measure for Measure and Othello. She staged Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at Houston Grand Opera and La Traviata at Houston Grand Opera, Canadian Opera Company (8 Dora Nominations) and Lyric Opera of Chicago. She was a Drama League Directing Fellow, a Princess Grace Award Recipient and spent several years making theatre with prisoners at a medium security prison in upstate New York in association with Rehabilitation Through the Arts. This summer she is directing an adaptation of The Tempest in a refugee camp in Greece for The Campfire Project. 

And the seventh annual
Life In Art Award to
Henry Christensen III. 

Henry Christensen III (1945-2017)

Henry (“Terry”) Christensen III was a generous leader of Theatre for a New Audience and a legendary figure in the Brooklyn community. Raised in Madison, NJ, he graduated with honors from Yale College and Harvard Law School. In his career at Sullivan & Cromwell and at McDermott Will & Emery, he was recognized as one of the leading trusts and estates lawyers in the United States.

Terry dedicated much of his life to the revitalization of the cultural and civic life of Brooklyn. He was the founding Chairman of the Prospect Park Alliance (and served for 20 years), a Board Member at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for 25 years, and on the Board of Theatre for a New Audience for 10 years. As the Theatre’s Chairman, he oversaw the completion and 2013 opening of Polonsky Shakespeare Center and the first four seasons in the Theatre’s new home.

In addition to his dedication to Brooklyn, Terry also served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Freedom Institute, and as a Trustee on the Boards of the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, Young Audiences Arts for Learning, the American Fund for the Tate Gallery, the American Friends of the Prince’s Trust and many others.

Lead sponsor:

Theatre for a New Audience’s elegant and entertaining annual Gala is attended by more than 300 of New York’s leading arts patrons, and has been hosted by eminent theatre artists including Jessica Hecht, Bill Camp, Alfred Molina and Maggie Siff. The Gala includes a cocktail reception, seated dinner, entertainment, and spirited auctions.

For More Information Contact: Jena Yarley, Development Manager, 212-229-2819 x25, or via email at


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 1970’s, Julie Taymor first studied Asian art. This directly led to her study in Indonesia – an experience which profoundly influenced her as an artist. Each year, we honor a great artist with the Samuel H. Scripps Award for Extraordinary Commitment to the Power of Language in Classical and Contemporary Theatre. In 2012, we honored Michael Boyd, current Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Alistair Macaulay, chief dance critic of The New York Times and former chief theatre critic of London’s The Financial Times, and James Shapiro, the Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University presented the award.

Past Scripps Honorees

jdtbw Merchant of Venice 1 - 158x158gray
Gala-John-Turturro-pic-158x158-B&W Michael Boyd circa 2007    
Past Scripps Honorees: 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 Honorees

CG-Logo_300px_W Polonsky-Photo
BarrySalzberg_150x150 Ted-2-(2)    
Past Life in Art Honorees: 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).
Pictured above: Polonsky Shakespeare Center, photo ©David Sundberg/Esto.