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Benefit Luncheonwill be held on Thursday, April 26, 2007 at the University Club of Chicago.

CHICAGO – The Illinois Humanities Council will honor Chicago Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Barbara Gaines at a benefit luncheon at the University Club of Chicago (76 East Monroe Street, Chicago) on Thursday, April 26, 2007 at noon. Registration begins at 11:30.

For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, including the purchase of tables, please call Maria Onesto at (312) 258-0447 orcomplete and return the 2007 Public Humanities Award Benefit Luncheon Donor Reply form. All names received by February 20, 2007 will be listed in the invitation. All proceeds from the luncheon will support the Illinois Humanities Council.

At the luncheon, Ms. Gaines will receive the Council’s 2007 Public Humanities Award. Given annually, this award recognizes individuals and organizations for their contributions to public understanding of the role the humanities play in transforming lives and strengthening communities.

Barbara Gaines is Artistic Director and founder of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where she has directed more than 30 of Shakespeare’s plays. Her work has been honored with Jeff Awards for Best Production (Hamlet, The Tale of Cymbeline, and King Lear) and for Best Director (The Tale of Cymbeline and King Lear).

In 2006, Ms. Gaines was awarded the prestigious Honorary OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in recognition of her contributions to strengthening British-American cultural relations.

Ms. Gaines serves on the Shakespearean Council of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and on Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Cultural Affairs Advisory Board for the City of Chicago, and has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts.

"We are thrilled to honor Barbara Gaines. As Artistic Director of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, she has led the way in making Shakespeare come to life on the stage for people of all ages."

"With this award we honor the work she has done with teachers and students, guaranteeing that the humanities continue to be at the core of education," said Illinois Humanities Council Executive Director Kristina A. Valaitis.

"On Navy Pier, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is at the very heart of our city life, helping us see that Shakespeare’s great themes affect us as individuals and as citizens: What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be a responsible member of a community? What is just?," said Arthur M. Sussman, Illinois Humanities Council Board Chair.

The Illinois Humanities Council broadens intellectual horizons by creating educational opportunities in the humanities for all Illinoisans. Whether deepening our understanding of the history right under our feet, or of the culture and experiences of our neighbors, Council programs bring scholars together with Illinoisans from all walks-of-life to reflect, think critically, and actively exchange ideas about what is important to all of us. Through film, performance, exhibitions, lectures, seminars, and public forums, the Council is a catalyst for imaginative ventures of the mind and heart. Organized in 1973 as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Councilis an independent, nonprofit educational organization, 501 [c] 3.

The Council’s Chairman is Arthur M. Sussman. Other Board officers include: Cheryl Johnson-Odim, Frank Cizon, and Gayl S. Pyatt. Leadership for the Public Humanities Award luncheon includes Council Board members Jack Wing (past Council Board Chair) and Anita Nagler, recently retired Chairman and CEO of Harris Alternatives L.L.C. For more information on the Council, call the 312.422.5580, or visit

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