2017 University of Chicago Diversity Leadership Alumni Award

On January 9, 2017, Silk Road Rising's Founding Artistic Director, Jamil Khoury, was presented with the 2017 Diversity Leadership Alumni Award by the University of Chicago. This annual award recognizes an alum of the University who has shown exceptional leadership in advancing social justice, equity, and achieving greater diversity across the community and society. Jamil was honored to share the dais with fellow 2017 recipients Rudy Nimocks (Diversity Leadership Staff Award) and Margaret Beale Spencer (Diversity Leadership Faculty Award).

"Jamil has worked tirelessly to challenge stereotypical narratives against Asian, Middle Eastern, and Muslim Americans," said University President Robert J. Zimmer. "He has created opportunities for writers, artists, and performers of color to bring their stories and craft to the stage. As an alumnus of this university, his use of the arts to counter dominant narratives, to educate the community, and to promote inclusion and social justice for underrepresented groups exemplifies the values of the university and its commitment to diversity and inclusion."

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Community Leader Award

Community Leader Award

On Saturday, April 25th at a gala event, Artistic Director Jamil Khoury was honored by the Association for Asian American Studies as the 2015 recipient of the Association's Community Leader Award.

The award honors an individual who has shown exemplary leadership and service to the Asian American community at-large.

Upon presenting the award to Jamil, Professor Laura Kina said "We're so pleased to be able to recognize and honor your multiple contributions as an artist as well as an advocate for more inclusive storytelling. You've inspired a generation of artists."

Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame Award


On Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at the Chicago History Museum, Silk Road Rising was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, the country’s only known government-sponsored hall of fame that honors members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. Silk Road Rising was selected for its "12 years of showcasing works that address themes relevant to Silk Road peoples and their diaspora, including polycultural LGBT stories." 

“Each year, the Hall of Fame is able to spotlight some of the many who have made contributions to their own communities and to the city as a whole,” said Gary G. Chichester, co-chairperson of the LGBT hall of fame. “We welcome the 2014 inductees’ addition,” said Israel Wright, executive director of the Friends organization. “It continues to show how the important contributions from our LGBT communities and from our friends pave the way for the future. It is humbling to recognize each inductee’s special efforts to create change in ways that affect us all so greatly.” View Mayor Rahm Emanuel's letter congratulating Silk Road Rising on their induction into the LGBT Hall of Fame.

View Mayor Rahm Emanuel's letter congratulating Silk Road Rising on their induction into the LGBT Hall of Fame.

Read Jamil Khoury's essay "The Good, the Bad, and the Hopeful: Reflecting on Silk Road Rising's Induction into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame" or view the PDF version here.

2013 Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards

Jeff Awards Logo

Best New Work

Presented to playwright Rajiv Joseph for The Lake Effect, commissioned by Silk Road Rising and Produced in 2013.

2013 ChangeMaker Award

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On Friday, May 19, 2013, SAALT (South Asian Americans Leading Together) presented its 2013 ChangeMaker Award to Silk Road Rising in Washington, D.C.  The Award reads: "2013 ChangeMaker. In recognition of your commitment to social justice, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) presents the 2013 ChangeMaker Award to Silk Road Rising."

2013 Actors Equity EEO Committee Award

Actors Equity Award

On March 18, 2013, Silk Road Rising's Artistic Director, Jamil Khoury, received the Actors Equity EEO Committee Award.  The award reads, "The Central Region Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of Actor's Equity Association proudly presents the 2013 Kathryn V. Lamkey Award to Jamil Khoury. We salute your energy, courage, and tireless dedication to non-traditional casting and equal opportunity."

2012 Chairman's Award for Inclusion & Diversity

Chicago Sinfonietta Award

On January 21, 2013, Chicago Sinfonietta presented its Chairperson's Award for Inclusion and Diversity to Silk Road Rising.  The award honors Silk Road Rising's "tireless devotion to fostering an environment where innovation through inclusion is of the highest priority."

2011 Insight Arts Creative Movement Award

Creative Movement Award

On December 9, 2011, Silk Road Rising received the Creative Movement Award from Insight Arts.  The award celebrated Silk Road Rising's contributions through the arts in creating a climate for social change in the United States.

2011 Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards

Jeff Awards Logo

Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Play

Presented to Diana Simonzadeh for her performance in Wajdi Mouawad's Scorched.

Best Lighting Design - Midsize

Presented to Sarah Hughey for her design of Wajdi Mouawad's Scorched.

Best Sound Design - Midsize

Presented to Peter J. Storms for his design of Wajdi Mouawad's Scorched.

2010 American Theatre Wing’s National Theatre Company GRANT AWARD

American Theatre Wing

On October 25, 2010, Silk Road Theatre Project received the American Theatre Wing's National Theatre Company Grant Award at a private luncheon in New York City. The American Theatre Wing, founder of the annual Tony Awards, selected ten theatre companies to each receive a grant in the amount of $10,000.00, with 2010 marking the first time in the organization's 53-year history that it has considered theatres outside of New York City for the awards. The grant will be applied toward SRTP's general operating expenses.

According to grant guidelines, the companies have "been in operation at least five, but not more than fifteen years, have articulated a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience, and nurtured a community of artists in ways that strengthen and demonstrate the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American theatre."

Grants Committee Chair Lucie Arnaz stated, "In a bold departure from our past grants giving program, the Wing decided to use our limited resources to bring national attention and acknowledgment to what we feel are some of the most inspiring and innovative theatre companies on our national landscape. Fewer grants for more money on a wider scale. It's a very exciting concept."

The 2010 American Theatre Wing National Theatre Company Grant Recipients are: 1812 Productions, About Face Theater, Boise Contemporary Theatre, Company One, Curious Theatre Company, The Flea Theater, Profile Theatre, Silk Road Theatre Project, Synetic Theater, and Triad Stage.

2010 3Arts ARTIST AWARD issued to Silk Road Rising's Artistic Director Jamil Khoury

3 ArtsOn October 25, 2010, 3Arts named SRTP Artistic Director Jamil Khoury the recipient of a 3Arts Award for Playwriting. 3Arts works to support Chicago artists, especially women, people of color, and people with disabilities working in music, theater, and visual arts, in order to enrich, strengthen, and sustain the arts and the community. Annually, as the result of a nomination and jury selection process, artists producing distinctive work in their respective disciplines will each receive awards of $15,000 to use according to their individual priorities, be they research, travel, or the development of new work. The 3Arts Award funds are presented without third parties or any strings attached.

"Each award we give to a local artist is a reflection of our belief that it is only through a diversity of artistic voices that our creative spirit can truly thrive," said 3Arts Executive Director Esther Grimm. "This year, we are honored to double our support of Chicago artists and unveil 12 recipients of our no-strings-attached awards."

The 2010 3Arts Award recipients are: in music, Tatsu Aoki (bassist), Nicole Cabell (soprano), Rachel Ries (singer/songwriter), and Jamie Topper (teaching artist); in theater, Cheryl Lynn Bruce (actor), Jessica Hudson (teaching artist), Jamil Khoury (playwright), and Eddie Torres (director); and in visual arts, Robin Hewlett (artist/organizer), Larry Lee (multimedia artist), Cecil McDonald, Jr. (photographer and teaching artist), and Luis Romero (3D artist).

Listen to Artistic Director Jamil Khoury talk about his playwriting:

2009 Chicago Community Trust FELLOWSHIP awarded to Silk Road Rising Executive Director Malik Gillani

Chicago Community TrustOn January 27, 2009, The Chicago Community Trust named SRTP Executive Director Malik Gillani a 2009 Trust Fellow. The Chicago Community Trust connects the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago.

Gillani was awarded a fellowship of $30,000 to fund his professional development plans. The Trust Fellowship provides financial resources which can also cover current salary and benefits for time off, costs related to academic courses, coaching, learning from other practitioners, and other associated expenses.

“Each of these Trust Fellows represents our next generation of not-for-profit leadership,” said Terry Mazany, president and chief executive officer of the Trust. “Each Fellow has enormous talent and potential in his or her field. We are excited to see the leadership that they bring to their field and to the Chicago metropolitan area.”

The other 2009 Chicago Community Trust Fellows were: Jaime de Leon, communities program director Enlace Chicago; Juan Dies, executive director executive director Sones de Mexico Ensemble; Liz Drapa, associate director Corporation for Supportive Housing; Christian Greer, senior director of education The John G. Shedd Aquarium; Gabrielle Lyon, executive director Project Exploration; Sylvia Puente, director The Latino Policy Forum; and Sandra Wilkniss, director The Thresholds Institute.

2009 American Theatre Critics Association M. Elizabeth OSBORN AWARD issued to Playwright Yussef El Guindi

American Theatre Critics AssociationThe American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) recognizes Yussef El Guindi’s play, Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat, which premiered in March 2008 at Silk Road Theatre Project in Chicago.

The Osborn Award is designed to recognize the outstanding work of an author who has not yet achieved national stature – e.g., has not had a significant New York production, been staged widely in regional theaters or received other major national awards

After Dark AwardWinner of Gay Chicago Magazine's

2008 After Dark Award for

Issued to playwright Shishir Kurup
for Silk Road Theatre Project's production of Merchant on Venice
directed by Stuart Carden.

2008 Asian Giving Circle GRANT AWARD.

Asian Giving CircleOn Wednesday, May 21, 2008, Silk Road Theatre Project was honored by Asian Giving Circle at the organization’s Fifth Annual Grant Award Ceremony held at Phoenix Restaurant in Chinatown. AsianGiving Circle was created to highlight challenges facing the Asian American community and encourage Asian Americans to support not-for-profit organizations addressing those challenges. Through its donor advised fund at The Chicago Community Trust, the circle provides an opportunity to contribute collectively to organizations that elevate and advance Chicagoland’s Asian American communities.

Silk Road Theatre Project was awarded a $7000.00 Fundraising and Capacity Building Grant. The grant was earmarked to support Silk Road’s strategic fundraising and capacity building efforts as the company aims to become a nationally recognized, permanent artistic institution in Chicago.

2008 Broadway In Chicago EMERGING THEATER AWARD.

Broadway In ChicagoOn March 31, 2008, at the League of Chicago Theatres Showtime Gala held at The Historic Auditorium Theatre, Broadway in Chicago honored Silk Road Theatre Project with its Emerging Theater Award. The award provides a $5,000.00 cash gift and a marketing support package that includes a full page ad in a Friday and Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune. To be eligible for the award, a company must be a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, have been in existence for at least three and no longer than ten years, and have demonstrated artistic excellence and fiscal responsibility in business practices.

Nominations for the award were accepted in late 2007. A nominating committee comprised of industry professionals, educators and League of Chicago Theatres board members reviewed the nominations and selected five finalists. The finalists were presented before the entire League membership for a vote and Silk Road Theatre Project received a majority vote from the membership.

“We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of the Silk Road Theatre Project,” said Eileen LaCario, Vice President of Broadway In Chicago and Chair of the League of Chicago Theatre’s Foundation. “We are thrilled to be working with a neighbor in Chicago’s Downtown Theater District, and a company that has distinguished themselves with their cross cultural message. This diversity is indicative of all that makes Chicago’s theater community the envy of the country.”

2008 City of Chicago HUMAN RELATIONS AWARD.

City Of ChicagoOn January 29, 2008, at the 61st Annual Human Relations Awards Presentation held at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations honored Silk Road Theatre Project with its Human Relations Award. The award is presented annually to individuals and organizations making outstanding contributions to the improvement of human relations in the City of Chicago. Silk Road was commended for “outstanding achievements in promoting cross-cultural interactions” and “its efforts in using the theatre as a means of fighting discrimination and prejudice.”

“The 2008 Human Relations Awardees exemplify the spirit of inclusion, respect for all, and the power of diversity,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley. “The City of Chicago is proud to have this outstanding group of individuals and organizations as our own and we applaud their success.” The other awardees were: Carrie von Sagun-Steiner, Chicago Police Officer; Chinese American Service League; Clarence N. Wood, President/CEO Jane Addams Hull House Association; and Harry Porterfield, Journalist and ABC 7 Chicago News Reporter.


Chicago Community TrustOn September 28, 2007, at a pre-opening ceremony held in Pierce Hall at The Historic Chicago Temple Building, the Chicago Community Trust honored Silk Road Theatre Project with its inaugural “Hopie” Award. The Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for the Performing Arts honors the legacy of Hope Abelson, an arts icon who is sorely-missed, particularly in the Chicago theatre community.

Marking the first anniversary of Hope’s death, the inaugural awards were presented to two emerging theatre companies that exemplify the innovation, creativity and inspiration that Hope intended: Congo Square Theatre Company and Silk Road Theatre Project.

2007 Columbia College Chicago’s ARTS ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARD

Columbia College ChicagoOn September 26, 2007, at a ceremony held at the Union League Club of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago’s School of Fine & Performing Arts honored Silk Road Theatre Project with its Arts Entrepreneurship Award. The program awards both for-profit and not-for-profit arts organizations and/or individuals that have demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial skills, innovation, willingness to take risks, leadership and management.

Arts entrepreneurs recognize and take advantage of opportunities that broaden the cultural, educational and entertainment values of the arts. Entrepreneurship in the arts includes, but is not confined to, such activities as the creation of successful new arts organizations, developing new ventures within existing arts organizations, the creative development of new or expanded facilities, as well as the development and expansion of the prospective audiences.

After Dark AwardWinner of Gay Chicago Magazine's

2007 After Dark Award for OVERALL TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT for David Henry Hwang's Golden Child directed by Stuart Carden.

Awarded to Rebecca A. Barrett, lighting design; Carol J. Blanchard, costume design; Lee Keenan, scenic design; D. Christopher Krause, technical director; Daniel Pellant, props design; and Robert Steel, sound design and original music for Golden Child by David Henry Hwang | Directed by Stuart Carden.

After Dark AwardWinner of Gay Chicago Magazine's

2007 After Dark Award for OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL MUSIC by Robert Steel for Richard Vetere's Caravaggio

and 2007 After Dark Award for OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN by Lee Keenan for Richard Vetere's Caravaggio directed by Dale Heinen.

2007 Asian American Institute’s MILESTONE MAKERS AWARD 

Asian American InstituteOn April 26, 2007, at a ceremony held at the Mid-America Club of Chicago, the Asian American Institute honored Silk Road Theatre Project with its Milestone Makers Award, recognizing the organization’s contributions to the Asian American community and the Asian American arts.

Milestone Makers are distinguished for combating stereotypes of Asians and Asian Americans, and for advancing the overall profile of Asian Pacific communities.


Changing WorldsOn November 20, 2006, at a ceremony held at Hot House, Changing Worlds honored Silk Road Theatre Project’s Founding Executive Director Malik Gillani. Gillani received the Immigrant & Refugee Contributions Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts and was recognized for “expanding representation of immigrant communities on Chicago's stages.”

Changing Worlds is an educational arts nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster inclusive communities through oral history, writing and art programs that improve student learning, affirm identity, and enhance cross-cultural understanding.

After Dark Award
Winner of Gay Chicago Magazine's 

2006 After Dark Award for OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION

issued to playwright Yussef El Guindi for his play Back of the Throat directed by Stuart Carden.

Winner of Gay Chicago Magazine's

After Dark Award2006 After Dark Award for OUTSTANDING NEW WORK

Issued to playwright Yussef El Guindi for his play Ten Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith

and 2006 After Dark Award for OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN

Issued to Rob Steel for Yussef El Guindi's Ten Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith directed by Stuart Carden.

After Dark AwardWinner of Gay Chicago Magazine's

2003 After Dark Award for OUTSTANDING NEW WORK

Issued to playwright Jamil Khoury for his play Precious Stones