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

The AUDELCO Viv awards recognize 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 City The President is Grace Jones and the board of directors consistsof: A.Curtis Farrow; Ralph Carter, Toni Peterson, Jacqueline Feffries; Linda Armstrong; Honorable Donna M. Mills; Fred R.Powell; Mary Seymour; Dale Richardo Shields; Terrence Spivey; Ronald Stone Esq and Mary B. Davis Chair Emeritus.[2] The organization has thousands of members, a newsletter, and a black theater collection of books, photos, slides and scripts as well as an extensive clipping file on black theater companies and productions.

The AUDELCO awards are limited to productions mounted by professional, not-for-profit theater organizations 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 are not eligible.

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

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

(Former AUDELOC awardees included, Kerry Washington(AUDELCO's first Rising star);Samuel L. Jackson; Phylicia Rashad;Debbie Allen; Denzel Washington,Barbara Montgomery,Sanaa Lathan and others).