Guthrie Theater Director Joe Dowling today announced actor/writer Matthew Amendt as the recipient of the first Joe Dowling Annaghmakerrig Fellowship Award. The fellowship is given to an established theater professional who is in some way associated with the Guthrie; the recipient is given the opportunity to benefit personally and professionally from the experience of spending two weeks at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre on the estate of Annaghmakerrig, Guthrie's home in Ireland. The Center is a residential retreat for artists from around the globe, offering time and space in which to research, create or develop work.
The inspiration to establish this award came from Guthrie staff and members of the community who shared the desire to honor Joe Dowling and to recognize the deep roots and historical artistic connections between Minnesota and Ireland. The award also serves to maintain the memory of Sir Tyrone Guthrie and his extraordinary vision for both the Guthrie Theater and for the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.
"It is a true pleasure to announce Matthew Amendt as the recipient of the first Dowling Fellowship," said Dowling. "Matthew's Apotheosis is a work that examines the interplay between contemporary society and the classical world, and so it is quite appropriate that he journey to Annaghmakerrig, where Tyrone Guthrie first began to contemplate that very same relationship between present and past in the theater."
Amendt, a graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program, has appeared in 13 productions at the Guthrie including The Great Gatsby, Peer Gynt and the American premiere of Brian Friel's The Home Place. He has appeared as an actor Off-Broadway in the title role of Henry V, and in numerous theaters nationally including the Pearl, Syracuse Stage, Seattle Rep and Hudson Valley Shakespeare. He was an Ivey Award winner for writing and acting in 2008's The Comedian's Tragedy, and plans to use the Dowling fellowship to pursue work on his play Apotheosis, a ghost story told through the eyes of Alexander the Great that was first produced at the Tank in New York City in the fall of 2012.
The Joe Dowling Annaghmakerrig Fellowship Award is announced in its inaugural year in part in honor of the Guthrie's 50th season, and is made possible by generous support from the Annaghmakerrig Tyrone Guthrie Centre, the University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies, the Irish Fair of Minnesota, and by David and Donna Brown.
Dowling also announced Sally Wingert as this year's winner of the Artistic Director's Award, which is given annually to a person associated with the Guthrie who has contributed with great service and distinction to the Guthrie audience and community. Wingert has appeared in more than 75 productions at the Guthrie since 1985, and has worked on Broadway, on London's West End, in films and on many major Twin Cities stages. Her most recent Guthrie credits include Appomattox, Charley's Aunt, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Faith Healer.
"Sally Wingert is the epitome of a great artist on the stage and a treasure to her community," said Dowling. "Her ability to transform and evoke a phenomenal range of characters, to enthrall and win the hearts of audiences, is probably only matched by the wit and sharpness that she brings to all her work-it's for good reason that she is always at the top of the list of Guthrie audience favorites."
Previous winners of the Artistic Director's Award include Guthrie Directors Sally Pillsbury (the first recipient), Karen Bachman, Polly Grose and Irv Weiser, and Guthrie administrative, artistic and literary staff including Director of Artistic Relations Sheila Livingston and Senior Dramaturg Michael Lupu. Long-time Guthrie actor Richard S. Iglewski was also a previous winner.