The John Lennon Real Love Award

Established in 2014 by Theatre Within, with the warm support of Yoko Ono, The John Lennon Real Love Award celebrates artists who have demonstrated lasting brilliance in their work, ongoing support of charitable causes, and enduring commitment to social activism.  See below for recipients.



Eve Ensler / Playwright, Speaker, Activist

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Eve Ensler, in a luminous career spanning over 20 years, has ignited a worldwide movement with her plays, talks, and initiatives to stop violence against women and girls.  Best known for her ground-breaking play, The Vagina Monologues, which has been translated into nearly 50 languages and performed in over 140 countries, Eve is also the author of the acclaimed works, The Good Body, I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around The World, and In the Body of the World.  

Her experience performing The Vagina Monologues led her to create “V-Day,” a global activist movement that envisions “a world where women live safely and freely.” V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.

The V-Day movement has raised over $100 million and educated millions on the issue of violence against women, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, reopened shelters, and funded over 12,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in the DemocraticRepublic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.

In 2013, on V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, Eve created “One Billion Rising,” inspiring millions of people in 207 countries to strike, dance, and rise to end violence against women and girls. “One Billion Rising” continues as a global mass action campaign.

About John Lennon, Eve Ensler said, “He was a visionary artist who made music revolution. His songs, his voice, his life, his love taught me that art can break down walls, open minds, explode hearts and instigate revolt.  John Lennon is a source of inspiration in my life and I am humbled, truly humbled and honored, to receive an award in his name.”



Bob Gruen / Photographer, Author

Bob Gruen, in a remarkable 50-year career, has captured the contemporary music scene in striking images that have gained international recognition and established him as the world’s quintessential rock photographer.

Best known for his iconic photos of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York City, Bob took what are possibly the most famous shots of John Lennon, on the rooftop of his apartment building wearing a cut New York City t-shirt and flashing a peace sign as he stood proudly in front of the Statue of Liberty.

Bob chronicled the emerging punk and new wave scene of the 1970s.  He photographed Led Zeppelin, The Who, Elton John and countless other legendary artists. He was the subject of the acclaimed 2011 film, Rock “n” Roll Exposed: The Photography of Bob Gruen.  Plus, he is the author of seven books, including John Lennon: The New York Years, Rock Seen, and See Hear Yoko.

As a humanitarian, Bob has selflessly worked with many local and international charities to raise money in support of their life-affirming missions. A partial list includes: WhyHunger, Her Justice, Tibet House, the Kristen Ann Carrr Fund, The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Ubuntu Africa, Save The Music, MusicCares and Aperture Foundation.  In addition, for many years Bob has been a major supporter of Theatre Within, donating his time, energy and photographs to help the Annual John Lennon Tribute continue to flourish.