Actors' Equity Foundation grants awards celebrating the talent of individual actors selected by panels of experts.

The Clarence Derwent Awards

Established in 1945, the Clarence Derwent Award is a crystal plaque and $5,000 to a male and a female actor for the most promising performance in a supporting role, as selected by a committee organized by the Foundation. Derwent's will stipulated a Trust Fund for the AEA Foundation to fund the awards. The Derwent Award is given at the end of the theatre season in June.


The Joe A. Callaway Awards

These awards were established in 1989 to honor a male and a female actor for the best performance in a classical play in the New York metropolitan area, selected by a panel of critics. The award is given in January and includes $1000 and a commemorative plaque.

The St. Clair Bayfield Award

This award was established in 1973 to honor an actor giving the most outstanding performance in a supporting role in a Shakespearean play in the New York metropolitan area. The award is given in January after a winner is chosen by a panel of critics and members of the theatre community and includes $1000 and a crystal plaque.


Paul Robeson Award

On June 1, 1971, the Council of Actors' Equity Association established what is now known as the Paul Robeson Committee. The Committee presents an annual award to the individual or organization that, during the preceding year or years, best exemplifies and practices the principles and ideals of this great humanitarian, Paul Robeson. The award is administered by the Foundation.


The Patrick Quinn Award

This award was established in 2007 under the auspices of the Actors' Equity Foundation to honor an individual who has worked tirelessly for the betterment of actors. The Patrick Quinn Award for Distinguished Service to Actors was established by his estate which created a fund to recognize and reward those who give so much of themselves to improve the lives of actors. The recipient is selected by a panel chosen by the Foundation and is awarded a crystal piece and $1,000 check.


The Richard Seff Award

In 2003 the Actors' Equity Foundation established the Richard Seff Award, an annual award to be given to a male and female character actor who is 50 years old or older and who has been a member of  Actors' Equity for 25 years or longer, for the best performance in a featured or unfeatured supporting role in a Broadway or Off Broadway production. An actor may only be the recipient of this award one time.

The award consists of a $1000 honorarium plus a crystal trophy.


The Roger Sturtevant Musical Theatre Award

The Roger Sturtevant Musical Theatre Award is available to current Equity Membership Candidates (EMC) who have demonstrated outstanding abilities in the musical theatre field. The award, consisting of a $1,000 check and a certificate, is presented to one male and one female EMC based on a video audition, written recommendations, and a completed application. A panel including actor/members of the Actors' Equity Foundation and members of the Casting Society of America choose the recipients of the award and announce the winners each April. The judging panel strictly adheres to the principles of non-traditional casting and actively encourages actors of all cultural backgrounds to apply.


Michael McCarty Recognition Award

Michael McCarty, a veteran Equity actor who died in 2015 in Santa Barbara at the age of 68, left a portion of his estate to establish an award to be presented annually by the Actors Equity Foundation to a stage actor over the age of 50 residing in Los Angeles. The award is intended for a working actor, not a star, who has made a life in the theatre.