The Michael Merritt Awards stands with the Black community

The Michael Merritt Awards Committee stands with the Black community in the fight against heinous murders, systemic racism and white supremacy. We will do the work to explore, pursue and institute anti-racist practices. 

We invite everyone to look, as we will, beyond their own perspective and listen to, learn from, and implement the ideas and voices of the Black community on the path forward.  The Michael Merritt Awards Committee will continue to expand our commitment to uplifting young Chicago designers and technicians and promote diversity of designers and technicians in the theatre arts.


Here are resources that support the Black community in the Chicago area:
My Block My Hood My City
Chicago Freedom School
Brave Space Alliance
Enrich Chicago
Support Resources assembled by The Theatre School at DePaul
Includes: Organizations, resources, Articles, Black Businesses, Black Theatres to Support, Funds
Anti Racism Dramaturgical Reading List assembled by the theatre faculty of Loyola University Chicago
Includes a summer reading list of plays, documentaries, books, articles, and resources.
National Resources:
Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund
Art Equity
Black Table Arts
Campaign Zero  
Color of Change
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Black Women’s Blueprint.
Black Lives Matter.

2020 Merritt Awards CANCELLED

Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, the Monday, May 18th 2020 Michael Merritt Awards and Design Exposition at the Columbia College Chicago’s Getz Theatre Center have been cancelled. 
Still celebrating design and tech.
The Merritt Committee, however, will honor one design or technical student from each of our participating schools (Columbia College Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University, The Theatre School at DePaul and the University of Illinois at Chicago) with an academic prize of $2000. Each student will be featured on our webpage and with social media announcements. If you’d like to join us in applauding those students please follow @merrittawards on instagram, twitter or facebook. To those professionals and students hoping to exhibit at this year’s event we offer our sincere apologies and will invite you to show next year.  We will resume our annual design exhibition and awards ceremony in the spring of 2021. 
How we are honoring our community this year.
The Committee has gathered funds we would have spent on professional awards and donated $5000 to the Chicago Theatre Workers Relief Fund.  Administered by the League of Chicago Theatres, this fund is awarding grants of $500 to contract and part-time theatre makers in our community who need it most. We are thrilled to support their work.
How you can help.
If you typically would have attended or donated to the Merritt Awards please take what you would have spent at the box office, bar and donation box and help with the relief effort in our community by donating at
Need some help?
If you are a Chicago theater artist in need of financial assistance you can apply for funding at      and at
One more way to help.
If you are a costumer or remember your skills from being forced to take costume shop:  Chicago Shakespeare Theater – in coordination with UIC – is organizing a paid opportunity for theater artists to contribute towards an effort to produce masks for the UIC hospital. For more information, please reach out to