LPTW Announces Inaugural Rachel Crothers Leadership Award: Donna Walker-Kuhne @lptwomen


The League of Professional Theatre Women (Kelli Lynn Harrison and Catherine Porter, Co-Presidents), an organization which has been leading the gender parity conversation and championing women in the professional theatre for over 35 years, is pleased to bestow their inaugural Rachel Crothers Leadership Award to Donna Walker-Kuhne, founder and CEO of Walker Communications. The award will be presented at the LPTW Leadership Luncheon on Thursday, June 27 from 12-3pm at Sardi’s Restaurant (234 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036). Tickets: Members $95; Non-Members $125.00; VIP tickets $175 (includes journal ad); VIP table $1,700 (with a journal ad). In keeping with LPTW’s mission of providing opportunities and visibility for women-identified theatre professionals, one seat at each VIP table will be reserved for an emerging leader who is lending her gifts and talents to assist in a cause or issue to benefit society and/or the world. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.theatrewomen.org.

The American Theatre Wing is best known as the creator of the coveted “Tony Award” given annually for distinguished achievement in the Broadway theatre, but it began as a service organization providing war relief. In 1917, seven visionary theatre women led by playwright/director Rachel Crothers, came together to organize members of the theatrical community at a time when women could not even vote. Their service to fellow Americans fighting on the front lines in World War I and World War II upheld America’s highest ideal—sacrifice for a common cause. Remarkably, while leading the theatre community in supporting the war effort, Crothers, a founder of The American Theater Wing and Its Stage Door Canteen, for 30 years had one play per season produced on Broadway – many of which she produced and directed. The New York Times said, “In the last 200 years, a respectable number of women have left their mark on American theater, but few of them have had as impressive a career as Rachel Crothers.” In the spirit of selfless service to her fellow Americans while simultaneously making significant contributions to the American theatre, the Rachel Crothers Leadership Award is given to a theatre woman who has distinguished herself in exemplary service and sacrifice for a common cause—a cause which leaves our society and the world a little better than the way we found it.

Acknowledged as the nation’s foremost expert in Audience Development by the Arts & Business Council, Donna Walker-Kuhne, an award-winning arts marketing consultant has devoted her professional career to increasing access to the arts. She is the founder of Walker International Communications Group, a boutique marketing, press and audience development consulting agency. Her team specializes in multicultural marketing, group sales, multicultural press, and promotional events. Walker-Kuhne has gained unique insights into the challenges of initiating conversations and building meaningful partnerships with diverse constituents. 
Ms. Walker-Kuhne says, “We’ve cultivated new generations of cultural ambassadors who now see the arts as a necessary element for their lives. Most important, our work has proven that the arts are a bridge for cultivating understanding, fostering dialogue, bridging divides and opening the door for people to share a transformative experience.” She goes on to issue a call-to-action, “I ask that you please dialogue about the arts with someone outside of your circle of colleagues and friends, as a reminder of its potential to unite and empower us to resist division, tyranny or despair.”  

2019 Rachel Crothers Leadership Award honoree, Donna Walker-Kuhne, has a vision that is bigger than ticket sales and putting “butts in the seats.” In our current political climate, her call-to-action asks us to remember our humanity and gives hope to our citizenry. The League of Professional Theatre Women fights year-round for parity and visibility for women in the American Theatre. LPTW Co-Vice President of Programming, Yvette Heyliger, says, “We are very excited by the opportunity the League has now to award a theatre woman who brings her gifts and talents to bear in addressing a national or local cause or issue affecting our fellow citizens and everyday Americans.”

The League of Professional Theatre Women (a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization) has been championing women and leading the gender parity conversation in the professional theatre for over 35 years. Since its founding, the LPTW’s membership has grown to 500+ theatre artists and practitioners of all backgrounds, across multiple disciplines, working in the commercial and non-profit sectors. To increase visibility of and opportunities for women in the field, the LPTW spearheads events, public programming, advocacy initiatives, media, and publications that celebrate industry luminaries, preserve the legacy of historic visionaries, raise awareness of the importance of nurturing women’s voices, and shine a spotlight on the imperative of striving for gender parity and fostering a diversity of expression, both in the theatre world and the world at large. To find out more about how you can support its endeavors, please visit www.theatrewomen.org