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National Community Theatre Award Winners Announced

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Rachel Brosnahan made a special appearance Sunday at the awards presentation.



This past Sunday, community theatre celebrated its biggest night as the American Association of Community Theatre's AACTFest 2021 Awards took place on the closing day of AACTFest, the biennial celebration of community theatre.

Quiana Clark-Roland, AACT Executive Director, said "It's been said that many of us get our start in community theatre. Seeing so many Broadway stars and industry leaders supporting AACT was inspiring and affirms the importance of community theatre. It was an exhilarating week. We're all ready to build communities through theatre."

Stars of stage and screen participated in the week-long festival. Keynote presenters included Jeff Calhoun, Ken Davenport, Frank Galati, Kristofer Geddie, Philip Hernandez, Chilina Kennedy, Rob McClure, and Mandy Moore.

In recognition of his generosity and commitment to community theatre, AACT President Chris Serface presented Jeff Calhoun with a Lifetime Membership in AACT, only the second such honor in AACT's history.

Rachel Brosnahan made a special appearance Sunday at the awards presentation.

With most community theatres shut down during the pandemic, AACT shifted from the established state and regional festivals that led to the biennial national festival. Community theatres were invited to submit a videotape of a sample of their production. Adjudicators selected twelve of the most promising productions from the US and military bases overseas.

AACT hired Colvin Theatrical, a video production company specializing in stage productions, to travel to eleven theatres based in the US and record the shows with cinematic, multi-cam production values. One theatre company on a military base, the SHAPE Players of the SHAPE

Performing Arts Centre in Mons, Belgium, was included in the top twelve productions and submitted a self-produced video.

Broadway on Demand streamed all twelve productions during the festival.

The National Companies of AACTFest 2021 were adjudicated by Allen Ebert, Executive Director at Children's Theatre of Madison (Wisconsin), Amy Wratchford, Managing Director at American Shakespeare Center (Staunton, Virginia), and Jeff Calhoun, Broadway Director and Associate Artist at Ford's Theater (Washington, DC).

The next AACTFest National Festival will be held June 12-17, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The AACTFest 2021 award recipients are:

Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design:

Dan LaMorte, Holy Days, SHAPE Players, Mons, Belgium

Daniel Strickland, Collected Stories, South City Theatre, Pelham, Alabama

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design

Keith Strang, How to Be a Good Son, Windham Actors Guild, Windham, New Hampshire

Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design

Jackie Fitzgerald-Boyd, How to be a Good Son, Windham Actors Guild, Windham, New Hampshire

Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction

Jamie Peterson, Jerry's Brain, Players de Noc, Escanaba, Michigan

Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design

Michelle Aguillon, The Mountaintop, The Lexington Players, Lexington, Massachusetts

Tami Lawson and Rebecca Fry, A Doll's House, Part 2, Shawnee Little Theatre, Shawnee, Oklahoma

Outstanding Achievement in Ensemble Performance

Jeff Braswell and Kevin Six, The Harry and Sam Dialogues, Bellingham Theatre Guild, Bellingham, Washington

Outstanding Achievement in a Featured Role

Evan Tanner, Hillary and Clinton, The Studio Theatre, Little Rock, Arkansas

Layla Kahn-Hickman, Love and Cheese Toast, Theatre Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Norquina Rieves, Love and Cheese Toast, Theatre Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Outstanding Achievement in a Supporting Role

Duane Jackson, Hillary and Clinton, The Studio Theatre, Little Rock, Arkansas

Bonnie Emmer, Ordinary Days, INNOVAtheatre, Cincinnati, Ohio

Outstanding Achievement in a Leading Role

Dominic Carter, The Mountaintop, The Lexington Players, Lexington, Massachusetts

Jes Washington, The Mountaintop, The Lexington Players, Lexington, Massachusetts

Heather Dupree, Hillary and Clinton, The Studio Theatre, Little Rock, Arkansas

Outstanding Achievement in Direction

Sal Jones, The Mountaintop, The Lexington Players, Lexington, Massachusetts

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music

Richard Pearson Thomas, Holy Days, SHAPE Players, Monz, Belgium

Outstanding Achievement in Musical Direction

Matthew Nassida, Ordinary Days, INNOVAtheatre, Cincinnati, Ohio

Outstanding Overall Festival Production

The Mountaintop, The Lexington Players, Lexington, Massachusetts

Nominee: Hillary and Clinton, The Studio Theatre, Little Rock, Arkansas

Nominee: The Harry and Sam Dialogues, Bellingham Theatre Guild, Bellingham, Washington

The AACTFest 2021 National Companies and their productions included:

  • INNOVAtheatre, Cincinnati, Ohio, Ordinary Days, music and lyrics by Adam Gwon
  • Stage Left Theater Association, Spokane, Washington, Lonely Planet, by Steven Dietz
  • Theatre Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Love and Cheese Toast, by Cooper Shattuck
  • Artists Collaborative Theatre, Elkhorn City, Kentucky, Blood Song: The Story of the Hatfields and the McCoys, by Chelsea Marcantel
  • SHAPE Players, Mons, Belgium, Holy Days, by Sally Nemeth
  • Players de Noc, Escanaba, Michigan, Jerry's Brain, by J.R. Spalding
  • Windham Actors Guild, Windham, New Hampshire, How to be a Good Son, by Julia Cho
  • The Studio Theatre, Little Rock, Arkansas, Hillary and Clinton, by Lucas Hnath
  • Shawnee Little Theatre, Shawnee Oklahoma, A Doll's House, Part 2, by Lucas Hnath
  • City Theatre, Pelham Alabama, Collected Stories, by Donald Margulies
  • Bellingham Theatre Guild, Bellingham, Washington, The Harry and Sam Dialogues, by Karen Ellison
  • The Lexington Players, Lexington, Massachusetts, The Mountaintop, by Katori Hall


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