Professor Donna Walker-Kuhne received the first ever League of Professional Theatre Women Rachel Crothers Leadership Award. This award is given to a woman in theatre who has distinguished herself through exemplary service while making significant contributions to American theatre. The award was presented at a luncheon at Sardi's restaurant; it was hosted by Tony Award winner Andre De Shields (Hadestown).
Walker-Kuhne is an expert in multicultural marketing, group sales, press, and promotional events. In addition to teaching two courses (Cultural Tourism and Audience and Community Engagement in Performing Arts Centers) the Performing Arts Administration graduate program, she is the founder of Walker International Communications Group, a boutique marketing, press, and audience development agency. She is also a senior advisor of community engagement at New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the co-founder of Impact Broadway, an initiative that encourages African American and Latino students to participate in theatre.
The award was presented to Walker-Kuhne by playwright Rehana Lew Mirza. It is named for feminist playwright Rachel Crothers who was the first woman to achieve commercial success on Broadway as a playwright and director. Crothers founded an organization that became the American Theatre Wing which presents the Tony Awards.
At the award event, Walker-Kuhne thanked her mentors, among them, Dance Theatre of Harlem founder Arthur Mitchell. Mitchell, while touring America in 1985 asked, "Where are the Black people?" "That questioned launched my career in audience development and community engagement," Walker-Kuhne said.
"My focus includes mentoring the next generation of arts administrators and providing them with the tools and support they may need to help them stay engaged and committed," Walter-Khune said in her remarks.