VHLF & BBLA 2021 Annual Gala Honoring Sir Tom Stoppard: The Play’s the Thing

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Vaclav Havel Library Foundation & Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association Annual Gala Honoring Sir Tom Stoppard and presenting the sixth annual Disturbing the Peace Award to a Courageous Writer at Risk was held at the Bohemian National Hall in New York.

With two-time Tony Award-winning actress Christine Baranski hosting the evening, Ayad Akhtar, recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for drama, delivering opening remarks, triple Tony Award- and quintuple Drama Desk Award-winning director Jack O’Brien introducing Mr. Stoppard and Vaclav Havel’s wife Dagmar Havlova presenting Mr. Stoppard with the annual Award for Unparalleled Service to Czech and Slovak Communities.

The evening included excerpts from Stoppard’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll” and Havel’s “Largo Desolato”, directed by Michael Sexton, head of the Public Shakespeare Initiative.

Another highlight was the presentation of the annual Disturbing the Peace Award to a Courageous Writer at Risk by Polish writer Adam Michnik to Belarusian poet Dmitri Strotsev.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Stoppard noted: “I keep thinking about the phrase that Vaclav Havel made famous: Living in truth. Has there ever been a time where that phrase resonates more than it does today.”

The 2021 Annual Gala benefited the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation’s program promoting dissident writers, performing arts students and exploratory theater.

Watch the Gala program on YouTube HERE