This award honors the memory of Sanford Meisner and is given to artists of distinction. Past recipients are Georges Bigot (a distinguished French actor and director) and Charles Newell (artistic director of the Court Theatre in Chicago).
"A leading acting teacher who trained some of the most famous performers of the stage and screen, Sanford Meisner was a founding member of the Group Theatre . The Group Theatre, a cooperative theater ensemble, became a leading force in the theater world of the 30s. Meisner performed in many of the group's most memorable productions, including The House of Connelly , Men in White , Awake and Sing , Paradise Lost and Golden Boy . While still a member of the group, Meisner became the head of the acting department of New York's Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater. After the Group Theatre dissolved in 1941 Meisner devoted himself to teaching, appearing only occasionally on Broadway and in films (most notably, in Clifford Odets' 1959 The Story on Page One ). "