In addition to the 60+ performance award categories for excellence in Bay Area productions, the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle also presents four Special Awards. These are our prior award winners:

The Paine Knickerbocker Award is named for the former theatre critic of The San Francisco Chronicle and presented to an organization that has made a continuing contribution to Bay Area theatre.

(1978 to Present)

1978 Edwin Lester, Founder, San Francisco Civic Light Opera

1979 Julius Irving, Co-founder, The Actor's Workshop

1980 Lamplighters Musical Theatre

1981 Cyril Magnin, Philanthropist

1982 Nora B. Vaughn, Executive Director, Black Repertory Group

1983 Michael Leibert, Founder and Artistic Director, Berkeley Repertory Theatre

1984 Steve Silver, Creator of Beach Blanket Babylon

1985 Marrian Walters, Actor

1986 William Paterson, Actor

1987 Edward Hastings, Artistic Director, American Conservatory Theater

1988 Charles H. Duggan, Actor

1989 Jonathan Reinis, Producer

1990 Carole Shorenstein Hays, Producer

1991 William Ball, Founder, American Conservatory Theater (awarded posthumously)

1992 Jean Shelton, Founder, Jean Shelton Actors Lab

1993 San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum

1994 Berkeley Repertory Theatre & TheatreWorks for community outreach programs

1995 California Shakespeare Company & San Jose Repertory Theatre for community outreach programs

1996 Sharon Ott, Artistic Director, Berkeley Repertory Theatre

1997 Theatre Bay Area

1998 Z Space Studio

1999 John Lion, founder of the Magic Theatre (awarded posthumously)

2000 Theatre Bay Area's Mary Mason Lemonade Fund

2001 Eugene Price, SFBATCC and Mayor Shirley Dean & City of Berkeley

2002 Robert Kelley, TheatreWorks

2003 A.C.T.'s Young Conservatory

2004 Jo Schuman Silver, Beach Blanket Babylon's 30th anniversary

2005 Lee Sankowich

2006 New Conservatory Theatre Center and A Traveling Jewish Theatre

2007 Lorraine Hansberry Theatre

2008 Robert Cole, Cal Performances (20 years)

2009 PlayGround

2010 Central Works


2012 Exit Theatre

2013 The African-American Shakespeare Company

2014 Pear Avenue Theatre

2015 Custom Made Theatre Company


2016 Ray of Light Theatre


2017 San Jose Stage Company


The Jerry Friedman Award is named for the KGO Radio theatre critic who served as SFBATCC president for 22 years. This is a lifetime achievement award given to an individual who has furthered the creativity and growth of theater in the Bay Area throughout his/her career. (This award was known as the Barbara Bladen Porter award through 2010.)

(1995 to Present)

1995 Barbara Oliver, Actor and Director

1996 Joy Carlin, Actor and Director

1997 John B. Wilson, Set Designer

1998 Berle Davis, Choreographer

1999 Ken Ruta, Actor

2000 Beaver Bauer, Costume Designer

2001 Patrick Dooley, Artistic Director, Actor and Director with Shotgun Players

2002 Charles Dean, Actor

2003 Liebe Wetzel, Artistic Director, Lunatique Fantastique, found objects puppetry

2004 Fumiko Bielefeldt, Costume Designer

2005 Carla Befera, Publicist

2006 Kim Taylor, Publicist

2007 James Carpenter

2008 Dan Hiatt

2009 Octavio Solis

2010 Jerry Friedman

2011 James Dunn

2012 James Carpenter, Actor

2013 Elly Lichenstein, Cinnabar Theater

2014 Margie Belrose, Belrose Theatre

2015 Robert and Lesley Currier


2016 Robert Kelley


2017 Margo Hall

The Gene Price Award is named for the former arts editor and long-time theatre critic of the San Francisco Bay Times and honors a person who embodies superlative professionalism and passion for Bay Area theatre.

(1977 to Present)

1977 Paine Knickerbocker, Theatre Critic;

         Beach Blanket Babylon Goes Bananas, Bullshot Crummond, and Evolution of the Blues for contributions to Bay Area theater.

1978 Fred Geick, House Manager, Geary Theater; Ina Claire, Actor

1979 San Francisco Mime Troupe

1980 Gene Angell, Architect for the new Berkeley Repertory Theatre

1981 Richard Reineccius, Artistic Director, Julian Theatre

1982 None awarded

1983 Russell Hartley, Founder, Archives of the Performing Arts (awarded posthumously);

         Playwrights Unlimited for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival

1984 College of Marin Drama Department; Theater Rhinoceros for The AIDS Show

1985 Danny Glover, Actor; One Act Theater Company

1986 Stephen Fritsch-Rudser, Performance Signer for the Deaf

1987 Berkeley Repertory Theatre, for its marking of the Eugene O'Neill Centennial; Hanns Kolmar, Publicist

1988 Tale Spinners Theatre: The Oral History Project; Don Johnson & Gary Menger, In Memory of Friends

1989 Val Diamond, Actor; Joegh Bullock, Founder, Climate Theater

1990 The Ensemble Theatre Company; The Mountain Play Association

1991 Jim & Harriet Schlader, Producers, Woodminster Summer Musicals; Stephanie Weisman, AD The Marsh

1992 James Haire, Stage Manager, A. C. T.; Ken Holamon, Scenic Designer (awarded posthumously)

1993 Genevieve Hustead, Theater Usher; Climate Theatre for the Solo Mio Festival

1994 Chanticleer for staging Benjamin Britten's Curlew River; Barbara Bladen, Theatre Critic/Circle member

1995 42nd Street Moon

1996 Christina Augello and Richard Livingston, Artistic Directors, EXIT Theatre and SF Fringe Festival

1997 Word for Word; Children's Theatre Association of San Francisco

1998 East Bay Children's Theatre; Afro Solo Festival

1999 Rhodessa Jones, Founder/ AD, The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women

2000 Albert Takazauckas, Director and Actor (awarded posthumously)

2001 S.F. Shakespeare Festival

2002 James Dunn, Mountain Play director

2003 Theater of Yugen and The Lysistrata Project

2004 Lee Sankowich and The Dominican Players

2005 Jay Manley

2006 Cal Performances and Ross Valley Players

2007 David Hyry, publicist

2008 Debbie Chinn, Executive Director Cal Shakes, and Charles Zukow, publicist

2009 San Francisco Playhouse

2010 Mike Ward

2011 Tom Kelly

2012 Kim Taylor, Publicist

2013 Bill English, Susi Damilano, San Francisco Playhouse

2014 Marga Gomez

2015 Melissa Hillman


2016 Jasson Minadakis


2017 Eric Chazankin


The Annette Lust Award, named for the late Dominican University professor and longtime Critics Circle member. In keeping with Dr. Lust's enthusiasm for new plays and her lifelong encouragement of fledgling playwrights through her "Fringe of Marin" festival, the Annette Lust Award is given to a promising new theatrical talent or organization.

2014 Dezi Gallegos

2015 Ubuntu Theatre Project


2016 3Girls Theatre


2017 FaultLIne Theater



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Maintained by SFBATCC CIO Harry Duke / Updated 12/12/18