The Michael Merritt Awards and Endowment Fund honor the memory of a brilliant designer and inspirational teacher. The Michael Merritt Award, a national award unique in its emphasis on excellence in both design and collaboration, has been presented annually since 1994 to outstanding professional theatrical designers. The Endowment Fund recognizes and encourages the work of young professionals and students through a national design exposition and prizes to promising theatrical design students. In recent years additional awards have been created which focus on outstanding technicians in all disciplines.
Collaboration is the biggest word in the theater. It is the most important element in theatrical success. Not just the collaboration between an author and a composer, but the total collaboration in every play, the convergence and co-ordination of all the different talents, producing, writing, directing, choreography, acting, scene designing, costume designing, lighting, orchestration, theater management, company management, public relations-the mixture of all these ingredients ingredients is essential to every theatrical meal that seeks to make itself palatable to the public. To get along in the theateryou must enjoy working side by side with other people. You must be willing not only to give your best to them but to accept their best and give them the opportunity of adding their efforts to yours to their full capacities.
– Oscar Hammerstein II