Origin Theatre Company, which produces new plays from Europe for New York audiences, will announce its 19th season at a gala dinner at the Manhattan Penthouse on Tuesday, December 7, at 6:30 pm.

The evening will honor Origin’s founder (and now New York Irish Center Executive Director) George Heslin and longtime Origin board member (and Invest Northern Ireland Vice President of Business Development) Andrea Haughian.

Heslin will be presented with Origin’s new Artistic Leadership Award to mark his achievements as Origin’s founding artistic director from 2002 to 2020, where he introduced the works of countless writers from all over Europe to appreciative New York audiences.  

Through Origin's 1st Irish Theatre Festival, which he also founded, he forged international partnerships with over 80 Irish organizations, giving them an introduction to New York’s network of Off and Off-Off-Broadway theaters as well as to its sizable diaspora theater community.  

Heslin also founded groundbreaking Origin’s European Month of Culture in 2018, further solidifying the company's pan-European mission. 

Haughian, who has served as an Origin Theatre board member since 2014, will receive the Tom Moran Business to Arts Leadership Award at the gala, named in memory of the longtime leader of Mutual of America, who passed away in 2018.  

The first Arts Leadership Award was presented to Loretta Brennan Glucksman at Origin’s last in-person gala in the spring of 2019. Haughian also received the 2019 Digital DNA “Global Recognition Award” for her contributions to Northern Ireland’s digital and technology sector on a global scale. She was also recognized among “Irish America’s Most Influential Women” by The Irish Voice and is the recipient of Belfast’s Homecoming Ambassador Medal.

“Obviously Tom Moran was a great supporter of Origin and after his passing, it was thought that there should be an award given in his honor to remember him and his legacy, the support that he'd given to Origin over the years,” Haughian tells the Voice. 

“The first recipient of that Tom Moran Business to Arts Leadership Award was his very good friend Loretta Brennan Glucksman. She has been very supportive not just of Origin, but many various Irish arts organizations here. She was a very worthy winner. And it was a very emotional night, when she got it she spoke very eloquently.” 

“I must admit I was somewhat shocked to get the email about my own nomination this year,” Haughian adds. “I still feel very undeserving of it but I'm very pleased to accept it more on behalf of the wider Origin team, the folks on the board who kept Origin going through the years, but particularly during the last 18 months during the pandemic, when it would have been very easy just to shut up shop and move on.”

Origin will keep pressing ahead in 2022 to bring art through all the different formats to a new audience, Haughian continues. “So, like I say, I'm very very grateful and very honored.”

Origin will announce its upcoming 2021-22 season, the first underMichael Mellamphy takes over at Origin Theatre in New York, at the December 7 gala. First up will be the 14th annual Origin 1st Irish Festival, running January 9 to 31.

“Everyone at Origin is excited about the resumption of live theatre,” Mellamphy, who co-curated last year’s all-virtual Origin 1st Irish with fellow Cork native and actor Sarah Street, tells the Voice.  

“We are looking forward to incorporating in smart ways some of the lessons learned during the pandemic, that keep our New York audience connected with the broader world, as we continue to build on the international relationships our founder George Heslin started.”

Haughian concludes: “I would like to encourage people to come along to the gala night. You can pick up your tickets on the Origin website or you can support us with a program buy. It would be great to see people in person again. Obviously, covid protocols will be, in place and we will be very stringent about those. We very much look forward to seeing people again in person. I've been missing those opportunities just to, you know, to sit down and chat with people and enjoy something together.”

To purchase tickets for Origin’s Gala Dinner on Tuesday, December 7 at the Manhattan Penthouse, 80 Fifth Avenue, visit OriginTheatre.org.