Announcing the inaugural Victor Shargai Leadership Award

Edgar Doby, collaborative leader and executive producer at Arena Stage, and Paige Hernandez, acclaimed multidisciplinary artist, are recipients of the first prize Victor Shargai Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals, groups or institutions whose outstanding service and creative leadership have strengthened the DC area theater community. The award was announced today by the Washington Theater Board of Trustees and Advancement Committee, in partnership with Craig Pascal, retired community bank executive and husband of Victor Shargai.

Edgar Dobie and Paige Hernández

Theater Washington created the Victor Shargai Leadership Award in 2021 in collaboration with Craig Pascal to honor her late husband and beloved DC-area theater champion, Victor Shargai. For decades, Victor has been a strong supporter of the DC area’s theater community, its artists and its institutions, generously donating his time and resources to theaters of all sizes. Additionally, Victor was a long-time president and board member of Theater Washington and played an integral role in the annual Helen Hayes Awards. In honor of his legacy and leadership, the Victor Shargai Leadership Award recognizes individuals or groups who have demonstrated outstanding initiative, collaboration, advocacy and personal generosity towards of the DC area theater community.

The winners were nominated by their peers through an open nomination process. Jane Lang, Founder of the Eugene Lang Foundation and President Emeritus, Atlas Performing Arts Center; Abel Lopez, Associate Production Manager, GALA Hispanic Theater and Chairman of the Board of Theater Washington; and Craig Pascal selected the final recipients.

“Victor Shargai was an inspiring leader in our community in so many ways, and it is his relentless passion for connecting, collaborating and celebrating Washington, DC area theater that defines his legacy. He was our ultimate champion for decades, and I’m thrilled that we now celebrate his impact every year by recognizing leaders who continue the work and spirit of community building,” said Amy Austin, President and CEO. of the Washington Theater. “Both Edgar and Paige are wonderful examples of how innovative and effective leadership can build community and bring to the fore the extraordinary work of the Washington, DC area theater community.”

“I am honored to partner with Theater Washington, an organization Victor loved so much, to recognize outstanding theater leaders from the Washington, DC area each year. It is through the visionary leadership found throughout this community that we will elevate our collective work and achievements, create collaborative and equitable workspaces, and be encouraged to bring our very best to this industry – all criteria of selection of these winners,” says Craig Pascal. “Edgar Dobie not only effectively ran Arena Stage; he opened it up to the greater community and to the city in an inspiring way, humbly leading by example. Paige Hernandez is a shining example of an artistic leader who brings out the best in artists to produce incredible theatre. I commend her for her commitment to collaboration at a critical time. I couldn’t be happier that they were selected as the first recipients of the Victor Shargai Leadership Award.

Arena Stage Executive Producer Edgar Dobie during the opening of the High Capacity COVID-19 Vaccination Site at Arena Stage on April 9, 2021. Photo courtesy of Arena Stage.

Edgar Dobie is the executive producer of the Tony Award-winning nonprofit Arena Stage, which he has run for more than a decade. Edgar’s leadership extended Arena’s reach beyond its stages and into the community as a dedicated neighbor to DC’s vibrant Southwest community. He recently opened Arena as a vaccination and testing site during the COVID-19 pandemic. Edgar has also demonstrated collaborative leadership and consensus building as a champion of theater throughout the DC region. Her effective advocacy, her personal generosity and her commitment to theater in the life of our community exemplify the spirit of this award.

Paige Hernandez in service and performance.

Paige Hernandez is a critically acclaimed multidisciplinary artist who works throughout the Washington, DC area as a performer, director, choreographer, educator and playwright. She is Associate Artistic Director of the Everyman Theater in Baltimore, MD, and the originator of B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT. Paige is a visionary in the arts, bringing together artists of varying talents across generations and genres. She inspires creative collaboration and infuses DC-area theater with her energy and imagination. His artistic integrity – reflected in a commitment to safe, equitable and inclusive spaces for artists – is intrinsic to this award.

Victor Shargai Leadership Awards Celebration
The inaugural celebration of the Victor Shargai Leadership Award will be held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC on October 17, 2022. The new leadership event will be co-chaired by members of the Washington Theater Advancement Committee: Abby Fenton, executive director and director of external affairs of the Whitman-Walker Foundation, and John Hauge, chief financial officer of The Global LPG Partnership and member of the board of directors of Theater Washington. The evening will include video presentations highlighting the exceptional leadership of Edgar Dobie and Paige Hernandez in the community and will offer a chance to socialize over hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and lively city views from the newly renovated Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for Theater Washington’s ongoing work in the Washington, DC area, including the annual Helen Hayes Awards. More information, including tickets and sponsorship opportunities, will be available in July.

Washington Theater
Through partnerships and collaborative programs, Theater Washington supports the professional theater community in the Washington, D.C. area to celebrate artistic achievement, strengthen the theater workforce, support institutional growth and advancement, and cultivate collective action. Washington Theater’s core programs include the Helen Hayes Awards, Theater Week, Theater Summit, Theater Work, and the Taking Care Fund.

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