AUDELCO, the Audience Development Committee, Inc., was established in 1973 by the late Vivian Robinson to honour excellence in New York African American Theatre through presentation of Vivan Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Awards (aka Viv awards). The awards were created to promote "recognition, understanding and awareness of the arts in the African-American community".

The AUDELCO Viv awards recognise the following, whether Broadway or off-Broadway:

  • Productions by Black companies
  • Shows written or directed by Blacks
  • Black actors in shows

AUDELCO has an office in Central Harlem, New York, with an active board of directores, including Executive Director, Carrie Jackson. The organisation has thousands of members, a newsletter, and a black theatre collection of books, photos, slides and scripts as well as an extensive clipping file on black theatre companies and productions.

The AUDELCO awards are limited to productions mounted by professional, not-for-profit theater organisations which have been in existence for at least two years and have had a minimum of 500 hours of rehearsal, performance, or training. Additionally, productions have to have been performed over 12 times between September 1 of one year and August 31 of the next. Workshop productions and works-in-progress aren't eligible.

The AUDELCO Viv awards allow celebrities and everyday people to get to share their love of theatre and their appreciation for the incredible performances, scripts, direction, costumes and sets that have been presented throughout the last theatre season.

Michael O'Hare was the first white actor to win this award presented by the black theatre community of New York for his performance in the play "Shades of Brown" which examined the effects of apartheid in South Africa.