Theatre Washington debuts ‘Backstage at the Helen Hayes Awards’ series

A personal look into the lives that have made DC the second largest and most successful theater community in the nation.

Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, has announced a new partnership with Theatre Washington on a series of short films spotlighting the richness and variety of the professional theater community in DC. Titled Backstage at the Helen Hayes Awards, the three-part interview series debuts on December 8, 2021, on GATHER by Events DC, Events DC’s platform for live and on-demand programming from the worlds of culture, sports, and entertainment. The films celebrate the safe and highly anticipated reopening of the District’s theaters and provide an entertaining and personal look into the lives that have made DC the second largest and most successful theater community in the nation.

 The series will debut on GATHER by Events DC according to the following schedule:

William Knowles and Roz White in ‘Backstage at the Helen Hayes Awards.’ DCMTA screenshot.

12/08/2021 – Episode 1: Roz White and William Knowles
Roz White, actress, vocalist, and teaching artist with composer, performer, and music director William Knowles discuss their shared history in #dctheatre including at MetroStage, Alexandria, Virginia. Filmed at the historic Anacostia Playhouse in DC

Emika Abe and Maria Manuela Goyanes

12/15/2021 – Episode 2: Maria Manuela Goyanes
Emika Abe, Managing Director of DC’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre talks with Maria Manuela Goyanes, the second-ever artistic director at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, nationally known for producing new work and original productions

Alicia B. Adams and Debbie Allen

12/22/2021 – Episode 3: Debbie Allen
Alicia Adams, Vice President of International Programming at the John F. Kennedy Center interviews Debbie Allen, prominent dancer, director, actress, filmmaker, and recent recipient of both the Kennedy Center Honors and the Emmy’s Governor Award

Theatre Washington is the producer of the Helen Hayes Awards and the only organization dedicated to supporting and representing all sectors of DC’s professional theater community. Supported by their efforts and the awareness generated by the Helen Hayes Awards, Washington, DC’s professional theater community has grown from a handful of theaters and producing companies in the 1980s to a staggering 90 today.

The three-part series is the latest addition to the diverse program portfolio featured on GATHER by Events DC. It will captivate viewers seeking compelling, locally relevant on-demand content to enjoy anytime, anywhere.

For more information, visit  


Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, delivers premier event services and flexible venues across the Nation’s Capital. Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District’s hospitality and tourism economy that hosts more than 1.7 million visitors and generates more than $400 million annually in direct economic impact, and the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Events DC manages the RFK Stadium-Armory Campus (RFK Campus), including Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Festival Grounds at RFK Campus, the non-military functions of the DC Armory, and the Skate Park at RFK Stadium. Stay current on the 190-acre RFK Campus Redevelopment Project at Events DC also built and serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. Events DC manages Gateway DC, R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center and Entertainment & Sports Arena all conveniently located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. For more information, please visit and find us on social media – Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (Events DC), and Twitter (@TheEventsDC) — and on our new hub for live and on-demand event programming on GATHER by Events DC at


Theatre Washington is an alliance of theater organizations, theater-makers, and theater supporters that promotes equitable, healthy, and diverse regional theater in the greater Washington, DC, region. They do this through partnerships and programs that celebrate artistic achievement, support institutional growth and advancement, and cultivate collective action.

Theatre Washington was established in 1984 with the goal of recognizing outstanding achievements in Washington, DC-area theater through the annual Helen Hayes Awards. In subsequent years, the organization has expanded its mission to meet the evolving needs of the region’s growing cultural community, continuing to recognize artists and organizations through the nationally recognized Helen Hayes Awards program and advocating for local artists, attracting audiences, and providing services to the more than 90 professional theaters throughout the Washington, DC, region.


Founded in 1984 by Bonnie Nelson Schwartz — who also acted as a producer for the Backstage at the Helen Hayes Awards series — the Helen Hayes Awards recognize outstanding achievements from more than 60 professional theaters and hundreds of theater-makers across the DC area each year. Named for Helen Hayes — the legendary First Lady of the American Theatre and a Washington, DC, native — the awards celebrate the artists and companies whose work makes the Washington, DC, area a thriving, nationally recognized theater community.

Award nominations result from a year-long process in which 40 volunteer judges on five panels attend as many as 200 eligible productions, including dozens of world premieres. The Helen Hayes Awards are traditionally celebrated each spring during a festive awards ceremony and after party.

The Backstage at the Helen Hayes Awards series was created to celebrate the work of the theater community as the Awards paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This initial series celebrates the resiliency of the theater community by giving recognition and celebrating the strong history of exciting theater in the DC region.


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