WASHINGTON— March 19, 2012-- The Washington Post is pleased to announce Jane Lang and Paul Sprenger of the Atlas Performing Arts Center as the 2012 recipients of The Washington Post Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theatre Community.  The Washington Post Award, part of the annual Helen Hayes Awards celebration since 1986, will be presented at the 28th Helen Hayes Awards ceremonies on April 23 at the Warner Theatre.

 Lang, Founder and Chair of the Board, and Sprenger, co-founder and Trustee, spearheaded the funding and development of the Atlas which reopened in 2006 as a 60,000 square foot arts center with four performance spaces and three dance studios in the historic H Street Northeast corridor.  The center is also home to a diverse group of locally renowned arts organizations and presents performances in music, dance, theatre and film.  Together, Lang and Sprenger chaired the $24 million capital campaign that helped finance the building’s acquisition and complete renovation and worked to generate support for the project in large part by connecting with the residents and businesses located in the H Street Corridor. The re-opening of the Atlas has been credited with sparking and sustaining the economic revitalization that is occurring on H Street, NE.  As trustees of the Sprenger Lang Foundation, their continued support and generosity helped the Atlas become the cultural anchor of the neighborhood and its namesake: The Atlas District.

 “The Atlas Performing Arts Center stands as an example of Jane and Paul’s commitment to make performing arts and arts education accessible to professional and emerging artists and affordable to all audiences,” said Steve Hills, President of The Washington Post. “We are delighted to recognize them for their leadership in launching the Atlas and for envisioning its potential as a catalyst for growth in the community.”

 “The Washington Post for Innovative Leadership in the Theatre Community is deeply meaningful to Paul and me,” said Jane Lang.  “How lucky we are to be part of a community that values and nurtures the performing arts!  We can’t imagine an award that speaks more clearly to our personal mission in the city we love.”

 The Washington Post Award honors members of the community who play a key role in the growth and development of the thriving Washington professional theatre community. Recent recipients include: Ford’s Theatre Society, theatre and arts activist Andy Shallal, Helen Hayes Awards Founder Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, and the alliance of Arena Stage, the Crystal City BID, Vornado/Charles E. Smith, Marriott and Arlington County Economic Development.

 To learn more about The Washington Post’s involvement in the community, visit: www.washingtonpost.com/community

 About The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com

The Washington Post, a multiplatform news source covering the politics, policies, personalities and institutions that make Washington, D.C. the world’s seat of power, supports D.C.-area organizations and programs that promote achievement in the arts and education and that strive to make a difference. The Washington Post is owned by The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO), a diversified education and media company.

  About theatreWashington (www.theatrewashington.org)

Building on nearly three decades of service as The Helen Hayes Awards, theatreWashington is the unified voice of Washington area theatre and is the only organization dedicated solely to promoting, representing and supporting all segments of Washington’s professional theatre community – theatres, artists, company members and diverse audiences of all ages.