Inaugural Victor Shargai Leadership Award announced

Edgar Dobie and Paige Hernandez will be recognized for their outstanding service and creative leadership in the DC-area theater community.

Edgar Dobie, collaborative leader and executive producer at Arena Stage, and Paige Hernandez, acclaimed multidisciplinary artist, are recipients of the inaugural 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 Board of Directors and Advancement Committee of Theatre Washington, in partnership with Craig Pascal, retired community banking executive and husband of Victor Shargai.

Edgar Dobie and Paige Hernandez

Theatre Washington established the Victor Shargai Leadership Award in 2021 in collaboration with Craig Pascal to honor his late husband and beloved DC-area theater champion, Victor Shargai. For decades Victor was an avid supporter of the DC region’s theater community, its artists, and its institutions — generously donating his time and resources to theaters of all sizes. Additionally, Victor served as a longtime chair and member of the Theatre Washington Board of Directors and played a vital 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 exceptional initiative, collaboration, advocacy, and personal generosity in support of the DC-area theater community.

The honorees were nominated by their peers in an open nomination process. Jane Lang, Eugene Lang Foundation founder and chair emerita, Atlas Performing Arts Center; Abel Lopez, associate producing director, GALA Hispanic Theatre and chair of the Theatre Washington Board of Directors; and Craig Pascal selected the final recipients.

“Victor Shargai was an inspirational leader in our community in so many ways, and it is his relentless passion to connect, collaborate, and celebrate Washington, DC-area theater that defines his legacy. He was our ultimate champion for decades, and I’m thrilled that we will now annually celebrate his impact by recognizing leaders who carry on the work and spirit of community-building,” said Amy Austin, Theatre Washington’s president and CEO. “Edgar and Paige are both wonderful examples of how innovative and effective leadership can create community and bring the extraordinary work of the Washington, DC-area theater community to the forefront.”

“I’m honored to partner with Theatre Washington, an organization Victor loved so dearly, to recognize outstanding leaders in Washington, DC-area theater annually. It is through the visionary leadership found throughout this community that we will lift up our collective work and accomplishments, create collaborative and equitable workspaces, and be encouraged to bring the best of ourselves to this industry — all criteria for the selection of these honorees,” said Craig Pascal. “Edgar Dobie has not only effectively led Arena Stage; he has opened it up to the greater community and the city in inspiring ways, humbly leading by example. Paige Hernandez is a shining example of an artistic leader who brings the best out of artists to produce amazing theater. I applaud her for her commitment to collaboration in a critical time. I could not be more pleased that they have been selected as the inaugural recipients of the Victor Shargai Leadership Award.”

Arena Stage Executive Producer Edgar Dobie at the opening of the COVID-19 high-capacity vaccination site at Arena Stage on April 9, 2021. Photo courtesy of Arena Stage.

Edgar Dobie serves as the executive producer at the Tony Award-winning nonprofit Arena Stage, which he has led for over a decade. Edgar’s leadership has extended Arena’s reach beyond its stages and into the community as a dedicated neighbor to the dynamic Southwest DC community. He recently opened Arena’s doors as a vaccination and testing site during the COVID-19 pandemic. Edgar has likewise demonstrated collaborative leadership and consensus-building as a champion of theater throughout the DC area. His effective advocacy, personal generosity, and commitment to theater in the life of our community exemplify the spirit of this award.

Paige Hernandez in service (at Better Boys Foundation in Chicago) and in 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 the associate artistic director at Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, MD, and the originator of B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT. Paige is a visionary in the arts, bringing together artists of wide-ranging talents across generations and genres. She inspires creative collaboration and infuses DC-area theater with her energy and imagination. Her 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 Victor Shargai Leadership Award Celebration will take place 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 Advancement Committee of Theatre Washington: Abby Fenton, executive director and chief external affairs officer at Whitman-Walker Foundation, and John Hauge, chief financial officer of The Global LPG Partnership and a member of Theatre Washington’s Board of Directors. The evening will feature video presentations highlighting Edgar Dobie’s and Paige Hernandez’s exceptional leadership in the community and provide a chance to socialize over hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, and a vibrant city view from the newly renovated Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for Theatre Washington’s continued work in the Washington, DC, area, including the annual presentation of the Helen Hayes Awards. More information, including tickets and sponsorship opportunities, will be available in July.

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


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