The Phoenix Theatre announced that the Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Barnard has been chosen as a recipient of the esteemed Ellis Island Medal of Honor. 

The Ellis Island Medals of Honor are awarded annually to individuals who embody the spirit of America in their salute to tolerance, brotherhood, diversity and patriotism. Honorees may be native-born or naturalized, but most importantly, they are individuals who have made it their mission to share their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity with those less fortunate. 

Michael Barnard is currently entering his 19th season as Phoenix Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, concentrating his efforts on the continued growth of the theatre in production, education and the development of new American theatre. His work has supported the Theatre’s values as being a place where people can be accepted regardless of race, creed, orientation or color and fostering an environment where individuals can gain a greater understanding of cultural and political differences and, in an era of simulated virtual gatherings, continue to provide a forum in which the community  can gather live and in-person. 

“Since the Medal was founded in 1986, EIHS has honored distinguished and diverse Americans including seven Presidents of the United States, Vice-President Joe Biden, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Nobel laureates Elie Wiesel and Malala Yousafzai, Coretta Scott King, John Sculley, Muhammad Ali, Lee Iacocca and Rosa Parks, among other outstanding Americans.” – Ellis Island Honor Society

Barnard earned his Master’s in Theatre with an emphasis in directing at Northwestern University and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Arizona State University. Barnard has directed more than 1,000 special events and is celebrating the direction of his 100th Phoenix Theatre production in 2018’s Godspell. He is the head of Phoenix Theatre’s new works programming, which assists in the professional development of new plays and musicals all season long and through the Phoenix Theatre Festival of New American Theatre. 

Michael will attend the May 12 Ellis Island Honor Society’s annual gala to accept the honor. Other 2018 honorees include Henry Louis Gates Jr., Albert II Prince of Monaco, and Congressman Adam Schiff. For more information about the Ellis Island Honor Society and Ellis Island Medal of Honor, visit