Ardelle Striker, Artistic Director of the Blue Heron Theatre/Arts Center (who would have been 81 in February) died on Thursday evening, December 3rd, 2009, after a valiant two year long battle against MDS (myelodisplastic syndrome). She and her husband John had just celebrated their 60th Anniversary in November and he was at her bedside during her final struggle.
Mrs. Striker received her PhD from Columbia and, capping a distinguished teaching career, became an Associate Professor of Theater Arts at the University of Connecticut. Upon retiring, she founded the Blue Heron Theatre in 1986 and a dozen years later, she supervised contruction of the theater’s permanent Arts Center home at 123 East 24th Street. Her mission was always to provide a "thinking person’s theatre, dedicated to presenting issue oriented works drawn from diverse cultural traditions and historical milieus, thereby creating provocative artistic statements."
To this end she produced more than 50 Off-Off Broadway plays in 20 years, winning several awards, most notably three Audelcos. The Blue Heron’s critically acclaimed debut, On The Tightrope, or the Ballad of the Phantom Train by Fernando Arrabal (translated by Mrs. Striker), was the followed by such notable productions as viva cummings!, We Are Your Sisters, The Rescuers (written by her daughter Elizabeth), Bee Luther Hatchie, Medal of Honor Rag, Harlem Duet, Two Rooms and most recently -two of her proudest productions -Bartleby the Scrivener (2005) and The Puppetmaster of Lodz (2007). Among the myriad playwrights produced at the Blue Heron were Wesley Brown, Ray Arahna, David Henry Hwang, Djanet Sears, Thomas Gibbons, Seamus Heaney, Anne LeGault and Lee Blessing.
In addition to her husband John, she is survived by her son David and daughter Elizabeth Nowells.
By: Leslie (Hoban) Blake