Campus & Community

Octavia Spencer named Woman of the Year

3 min read

Actress will lead Hasty Pudding parade, receive pudding pot, attend roast

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the oldest theatrical organization in the United States, has named Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer as its 2017 Woman of the Year.

The award is bestowed annually on performers who have made lasting and impressive contributions to entertainment. Established in 1951, the award has been given to many notable entertainers, including Meryl Streep, Debbie Reynolds, Katharine Hepburn, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, Dame Helen Mirren, and most recently Kerry Washington.

A veteran character actress, Spencer has become a familiar fixture in television and film. Her critically acclaimed performance as Minny in Dreamworks’ “The Help” won her the 2012 Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award, and Broadcast Film Critic’s Choice Award. She can currently be seen in the drama “Hidden Figures.”

The Woman of the Year festivities will begin at 3 p.m. on Thursday, when Spencer will lead a parade through the streets of Cambridge. At 4 p.m., she will be presented with her pudding pot at Farkas Hall, the Hasty Pudding’s home since 1888. A press conference will follow the presentation, and there will be a celebratory roast for the actress.

For the first time, the press conferences for Hasty Pudding’s Man and Woman of the Year will be live-streamed and available to the public free of charge. More information will be available on the Hasty Pudding’s social media channels soon via Facebook at, Twitter @thehastypudding, and Instagram @thehastypudding. Afterward, the Hasty Pudding will give a preview of its 169th production, “Casino Evil.”

“We could not be more excited to offer Ms. Spencer our Woman of the Year award. We are humbled by her talent and are so honored that our little pudding pot will be sitting alongside Ms. Spencer’s Oscar and Golden Globe on her mantle,” said Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ co-producer Adam Chiavacci.

“Everyone here is really looking forward to meeting her — as long as she doesn’t prove as difficult as her character on ‘30 Rock’!” added co-producer Natalie Kim.

Later this year, Spencer will be seen in “The Shack,” a film based on the best-selling novel of the same title. Spencer recently wrapped production on the film “The Shape of Water.”

To purchase tickets to “Casino Evil,” contact the box office at 617-495-5205 or order online at The show will be performed at Farkas Hall, 12 Holyoke St., from Feb. 3 until March 5. The company then will bring the production to New York and Bermuda.