Northlight Theatre to Honor Harry Lennix for Social Advocacy

Northlight Theatre to Honor Harry Lennix for Social Advocacy

Pictured: Harry Lennix. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Northlight has announced that it will honor stage and screen star Harry Lennix with the 2017 “Speak Up!” award, which recognizes individuals who champion important issues impacting society. Recipients must also have a connection to the theater and should “exemplify leadership, advocacy, and a deep commitment to community.”

Artistic Director BJ Jones said, “Harry Lennix has been an articulate, passionate advocate for social change and inspiration for the thirty years that I have known him. We are proud to recognize his voice and his efforts as a member of the Northlight Family.”

Lennix grew up on the south side and began acting in Chicago while attending Northwestern University. He maintained his professional career while teaching full-time in the Chicago Public Schools. His film credits include “Man of Steel,” “Ray” (for which he earned a SAG Award nomination), and “The Matrix” sequels. On TV, he has starred in “The Blacklist,” “Commander in Chief,” “24,” and “ER,” amongst others. On stage, Lennix has appeared across the country, including Northlight Theatre’s “Permanent Collection” in 2005. He made his Broadway debut in 2007 in August Wilson’s “Radio Golf.”

Lennix founded Exponent Media Group, a film production company that produces films about the African American experience. He is a champion for drug courts, an alternative to incarceration for individuals with addiction problems, and a frequent speaker at colleges and universities on the importance of activism and advocacy. A long-standing member of Northlight Theatre’s Advisory Council, Lennix also holds board or advisory positions with The Goodman Theatre, Northwestern University, Congo Square Theater, and The Robey Theater in Los Angeles.

“Northlight Theatre is a sanctuary of artistic achievement and socially conscious ambition. Driven by outstanding leadership and meticulous management, I have had the pleasure to watch Northlight blossom into the theatrical jewel of the North Shore. My experience working there in 2005 set a standard of collaboration for me that has yet to be matched,” Lennix said. “Being chosen to receive The Speak Up! Award by Northlight is a singular honor—and feels very much like being welcomed home by a comrade in the crusade for The Arts in Action.”

The award is part of Northlight’s Speak Up! program, an initiative for middle school and high school students in 12 schools throughout the Chicago area, utilizing theater for social change. Topics that have been addressed by past Speak Up! residencies include bullying, gang violence, police brutality, role models, and stereotyping. Lennix is the second recipient of the award — the first was H. Woods Bowman, a U.S. Congressman and as an educator at DePaul University. Woods received the honor posthumously in 2016.

The award will be presented at Northlight’s 2017 Gala, which will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at 6:00 pm, at The Evanston Golf Club, 4401 Dempster, Skokie, IL. Michael Ingersoll will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. To purchase tickets, contact Northlight at 847.324.1614.

About author

Abigail Trabue

Abigail has worked as an actor/director in Chicago for over ten years, and along with husband Jason Epperson founded Lotus Theatricals in 2015, and PerformInk Chicago and Kansas City in 2016 (where she serves as Managing Editor of both publications). When not talking shop, Abigail is raising three padawans with Jason, drinking lots of coffee, converting school buses into RV's, and eating all the foods at Disney World. You can find her on Twitter @AbigailTrabue