We continue to mourn the loss of Victor Shargai, long-time theatreWashington board chair, theater lover, and philanthropist, who passed away peacefully at home on December 24, 2019. For decades, Victor dedicated himself to celebrating theater artists and strengthening the theater institutions in the Washington D.C. region. As a champion and a supporter, and with his beloved husband Craig Pascal, he believed fervently in theater’s power to transform lives and communities.

On the occasion of a memorial celebration of his life in July 2020, in partnership with Craig Pascal, Amy Austin, President & CEO of theatreWashington, announced the creation of a new Helen Hayes Award in Victor’s honor. The Victor Shargai Leadership Award will recognize excellence in a new way. The first award will be given in 2021 when we can gather again.

As a board member of several cultural institutions, Victor played a leading role in the area’s artistic renaissance, which saw the number of professional theaters grow exponentially over three decades, creating a region that now supports more than 200 productions annually. Throughout his decades of work in the Washington area, Victor used his strong organizational ability to connect people and institutions to the boards of many organizations, including The Washington Ballet, Studio Theatre, and Signature Theatre.

Victor was chair of the theatreWashington Board from 1991 to 2014, and he continued to be involved with the organization until his death. Victor understood how great art can be produced by many different kinds of institutions. He attended and supported both theaters that were producing their first show and theaters that had been producing for decades. A true visionary, he was one of the Washington area’s most passionate advocates for the arts. Victor’s lifelong love of and commitment to theater helped transform the DC area into a leading arts and cultural center, promoting community revitalization and nurturing many in the arts.