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October 23, 2019, Washington, D.C.  Since 2010, STC has recognized two actors per season who have demonstrated exceptional skill and technique on the stage with the Emery Battis Award for Acting Excellence. This year’s awardees are KELLEY CURRAN and MATTHEW RAUCH.

Praised for their extraordinary performances as the vengeful queen Clytemnestra in The Oresteia and the dastardly Richard, Duke of Gloucester in Richard the Third, respectively, Curran and Rauch were presented with the Emery Battis Award on Monday, October 21, at the opening night dinner for STC’s production of Everybody hosted by the Board of Trustees. They each will receive a $7,500 cash prize made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, along with a crystal sculpture commemorating their achievement.

Each season, a panel comprised of D.C. theatre critics, STC supporters, and theatre professionals recommends two performers from the mainstage season to receive the esteemed Emery Battis Award. This award, named in honor of STC’s longtime friend and affiliated artist, the late Emery Battis, is presented to two actors whose performances are deemed especially noteworthy. Panelists nominate two actors each year who have given one of the season’s most impressive performances, and whose commitment to not only classical theatre, but also not-for-profit theatre, is unmatched. 

During the 2018-2019 Season, audiences enjoyed many critically acclaimed performances on the stages of Sidney Harman Hall and the Lansburgh Theatre during Michael Kahn’s final season as artistic director. The panel met and discussed the various possible awardees, inspiring a lively debate concerning this year’s pool of talented artists.

Ultimately, Matthew Rauch, who is currently playing Robert McNamara in Robert Schenkkan’s The Great Society on Broadway, starring Brian Cox, is taking home the Emery Battis Award for Acting Excellence for “teach[ing] a master class in duplicity and manipulation, all the while unable to contain his delight in machinations that would make Machiavelli blush” in Richard the Third (DC Metro Theater Arts), directed by STC Affiliated Artist David Muse. Playing Shakespeare’s titular villain, Rauch’s commanding turn was manipulative, and memorable, a duplicitous portrayal of a puppeteering politician crippled by his own insecurities. Rauch, a charming Richard, won over audiences, who were “alarmed to find ourselves wooed by his intelligence and charisma even as we are repelled by his treachery and dogged fixation with acquiring power any cost” (BroadwayWorld).

In “one of the best [performances] you’ll see on a Washington stage this year,” (Brightest Young Things), Kelley Curran, is also awarded the Emery Battis for her searing portrayal of Clytemnestra in Michael Kahn’s magnum opus The Oresteia, written by Ellen McLaughlin. A grieving mother, a commanding queen, a woman bent on revenge, Curran delivered “a performance of such etched clarity and cruelty it will blow you away” (DC Theatre Scene), “a mesmerizing portrait of a woman consumed by one act of revenge” (Two Hours Traffic). After The Oresteia, Curran’s most recent role turned to another adaptation of a classical Greek play, JoAnne Akalaitis’ Bad News! i was there…, which played Off-Broadway at N.Y.U. Skirball.

Shakespeare Theatre Company congratulates this year’s recipients of the Emery Battis Award for Acting Excellence.


STC:  The Oresteia (Clytemnestra), Henry IV, Part 1 and 2 (Lady Percy). NEW YORK: Broadway: Present Laughter (with Kevin Kline). Off-Broadway: N.Y.U. Skirball: JoAnne Akalaitis’ Bad News! i was there…; The Public Theater: Mother of the Maid (with Glenn Close); Theatre for a New Audience: The Winter’s Tale; Bedlam Ensemble Theatre: Sense and Sensibility, Peter Pan; The Pearl Theatre Company: The Dingdong; Red Bull Theater: ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore; LAByrinth: The Atmosphere of Memory; Signature Theatre Company: Angels in America; New Victory Theater / The Acting Company: Henry V. REGIONAL: Paper Mill Playhouse, The Guthrie Theater, Portland Center Stage, Shakespeare & Company, The Acting Company. FILM: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot. TELEVISION: The Blacklist. AWARDS: National Theatre Conference Emerging Professional Award, Joseph A. Callaway Award, Drama League Award Nominations, Princess Grace Award Nominations. TRAINING: Fordham University at Lincoln Center: BA; BADA at Oxford: Shakespeare Intensive.

STC: Richard the Third (Richard), Henry V (Dauphin), Macbeth (Malcolm). NEW YORK: Broadway: The Great Society, Junk, The Merchant of Venice, Prelude to a Kiss. Off-Broadway: Signature Theatre: A Particle of Dread, Book of Days; Playwrights Horizons: Kin; Shakespeare in the Park: The Winter’s Tale;Red Bull Theater: The Revenger’s Tragedy, Edward the Second, The Duchess of Malfi;MCC: Still Life. REGIONAL: Hartford Stage: Macbeth (Macbeth); Arena Stage: The Miser; La Jolla Playhouse; Williamstown Theatre Festival; Long Wharf Theatre; Repertory Theater of St. Louis. FILM: In This, Our Time; The Wolf of Wall Street, The Tale, Daddy, Labor Day, No Reservations. TELEVISION: Banshee (four seasons);Recurring roles: Chicago PD,Chambers, Blue Bloods, NCIS: New Orleans, Shades of Blue, Believe, Treme; Other Television: Seven Seconds, Bull, The Good Wife, SVU, The Blacklist, Law & Order. OTHER: Kennedy Center: Henry V with the National Symphony. AWARDS: Callaway Award (for Bosola in The Duchess of Malfi); Connecticut Critics Circle Award (Best Actor for Macbeth).

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