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American Association of Community Theatre--Improving Communities One Theatre at a Time

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national awards

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Art Cole Lifetime of Leadership Award

Honors a lifetime of leadership in community theatre by members of AACT who have provided leadership at the national level, in addition to local and/or regional levels.

2014 Honoree

Murray Chase

Venice, FL

 Murray Chase

Murray Chase (Venice, Florida - Venice Theatre) has served as the Executive/ Artistic Director of Venice Theatre for 17 years, following six years as Executive/ Artistic Director of Corinth Theatre-Arts in Mississippi. Under his leadership, the theatre has grown to become the 3rd largest community theatre in the U.S. and the largest per capita. Murray has directed approximately 200 shows including many award winning efforts. He has served as president of Venice MainStreet Board of Directors, as division chair and festival chair of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, as division chair of the Florida Theatre Conference, as a grants panelist for the Florida Arts Council and the Mississippi Arts Commission, as chair of the Sarasota County Arts Council, and with the Venice Chamber of Commerce he served on the City of Venice Anniversary Committee and the Cultural Executives Committee. Nationally, Murray serves AACT as the Executive Vice President and on the Endowment, International, and Festival Committees, and is leading his theatre in hosting the AACT International Community Theatre Festival for the second time.


2014 Honoree

Norman Small

Winter Haven, FL

 Norman Small

Norman Small (Winter Haven, Florida - Theatre Winter Haven) has contributed to community theatre across state, national and international borders. He founded and has been the Producing Director of Theatre Winter Haven for the past 44 years. He is a published author (The Making of Drama, Holbrook Press-1972) and an award winning director. Norm lead Theatre Winter Haven to a first place win at the 1987 International Play Festival in Dundalk, Ireland and has taken five AACTFest winning productions to the national festival. His most recent national festival entrant was the 2013 production of Golda's Balcony, which ended its banner year with a performance in Germany. Norm served on the AACT Board for five years including a term as VP Planning and Development. His contributions on the national level continued an additional six years with his participation on various AACT committees. Norm is a recipient of the Florida Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award in Community Theatre, as well as both the AACT David C. Bryant Outstanding Service and Fellow Awards.


Previous Recipients  
1987  Art Cole (Midland, TX)
1988  Sydney Spayde (Iowa City, IA)
         John Wray Young (Shreveport, LA)
1989  Mort Clark (North White Plains, NY)
1991  Sherwood Lohrey (Memphis, TN)
1992  Harv Thompson (Madison, WI)
1993  Norman McPhee (Racine, WI)
1994  Jim Carver (Kalamazoo, MI)
1995  Enid Holm (Odessa, TX)

1996  Betty Tomlinson (Spokane, WA)
1998  L. Ross Rowland (Muncie, IN)

1999  Bea Miller (Memphis, TN)
2000  Rusty Clauss (Alexandria, VA)

2001  Rod McCullough (Lancaster, PA)
2002  Twink Lynch (Topeka, KS)
2003  Shirley Harbin (Detroit, MI)
2004  John Viars (Des Moines, IA)
2005  Jack Phillips (Downers Grove, IL)

2008  Joanne Berry (Bay City, MI)

         Stephen Peithman (Davis, CA)

2009  Frank Peot (Sun Prairie, WI)

2010  Tom Cowley (Ponca City, OK)

2011  Jim Sohre (Army Europe Command


         Sherman C. Ward (Alexandria Bay, NY)

2012  Bill Muchow (Minneapolis, MN)

2013 Mary Britt (Ocala, FL)



David C. Bryant Outstanding Service Award

Recognizes individual members of AACT for significant, valuable, and lasting service to community theatre. .

2014 Honoree

Harriet Friedman

Sidney, OH

 Harriet Friedman


Harriet Friedman (Waltham, Massachusetts - Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theatre) suggested creating a state organization to support the festival and other community theatre activities when, twenty-eight years ago, community theatres in Eastern Massachusetts found themselves suddenly without support for their annual community theatre festival, which had run uninterrupted since 1954. She visited theatres to hear their needs, explained the long-term benefits of the organization, and asked for their financial support. In 1989 EMACT (Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theatre) was born. Today EMACT is a thriving organization with a membership of 50+ groups, a vital workshop series, and strong education and theatre evaluation programs. As EMACT moves into its second 25 year history, Harriet remains very active and continues to offer help, support and guidance.


2014 Honoree

Dotti Peek

New Palestine, IN

 Dotti Peek


Dotti Peek (New Palestine, Indiana - Indiana Community Theatre Association) has been involved with more theatres and theatre related organizations in Indiana then one might even know existed. She participated in Buck Creek Players, Footlite Musicals, Epilogue Players, Edavein Theater, IUPUI Children's Theatre, Indiana Community Theatre Association, AACT, Indiana Theatre Association, and even her local church. Through her involvement with these organizations, she has contributed an amazing 50 plus years of service to community theatre. Whether chairing a festival, writing a newsletter, serving on the board, assisting committees, or doing her part on-stage or backstage, Dotti embodies the phrase "the show must go on." _Her involvement with the Indiana Community Theatre Association and AACT, as well as the wonderful advice and support she gives to those who follow in her footsteps, has made Dotti an inspiration to others and a motivating force for growth in all aspects of community theatre.


Previous Recipients  
1978  Robert E. Gard (Madison, WI)
1979  Art Cole (Midland, TX)
1980  John Wray Young (Shreveport, LA)
1981  Jeanne Adams Wray (Stillwater, OK)
1982  Robert Plumb (Broken Arrow, OK)
1983  Betty Tomlinson (Spokane, WA)
1984  Kay Fliehr (Edina, MN)
1985  Twink Lynch (Topeka, KS)
1987  David Gooder (Downers Grove, IL)
1988  Mort Clark (North White Plains, NY)
1989  Al & Elise King (Clinton, IA)
1990  Bea Miller (Mempis, TN)
1991  Shirley Harbin (Detroit, MI)
1992  L. Newell Tarrant (Raleigh, NC)
1993  Sandra Karnack (Minot, ND)

1994  Charles Chesnut (Chappaqua, NY)

1995  John Wills (Spokane, WA)
1996  John Viars (Des Moines, IA)

1997  JoAnne Nissen (Racine, WI) 

1998  Donna Norberg (Minneapolis, MN)
1999  Jerry Paquette (US Army)
2000  Bill Razo (Hobbs, NM)
2001  Jeanne Stein (Los Alamos, NM)
2002  Ginny Winsor (Omaha, NE)
2003  Dawn Enders (La Crosse, WI)
2004  Eleanor Smith (Columbus, OH)
2005  Norm Small (Winter Haven, FL)
2006  Steve Walpert (Fort Gordon, GA)
 David Allen (Memphis, TN)
         Nick Credgington
(Fort Belvoir, VA)
         Ginger Heath
(Charlotte, NC

2008  Vanita Rae Smith (Honolulu, HI)

2009  Dane Winters (US Army, Heidelberg)

2010  Dwight Martin (Honolulu, HI)

2011  Sherman C. Ward (Alexandria Bay, NY)

2012  Paul Nelson (Olean, NY)

         Ron Paoletti (US Army, Europe)

2013 Christi Thomas (Sidney, OH)



New: Diamond Crown Organization Award

Recognizes longevity and vitality of AACT member theatres that have expanded programming and/or facilities in the past ten years and have the administrative leadership to remain vital to their communities for the next ten years. Recipients must have been in continuous operation for 75 years and organizational members of AACT for the past ten years. [The first recipient of the Diamond Crown Organization Award has not been named.]


Distinguished Merit Award

Presented to individuals and organizations in recognition of contributions made to promote and develop the highest standards for community theatre.


2014 Honoree

Melanie Cornelison

Ashland, KY

Melanie Cornelison


Melanie Cornelison (Ashland, Kentucky - Paramount Players) saw the need for an in-house community theatre shortly after accepting the position of Director of Education and Outreach at the Paramount Arts Center; thus Paramount Players was born. As the group's current Artistic Director, Melanie produces, directs, and volunteers her time to create the choreography for each of the 5 - 7 plays and musicals in addition to her other job responsibilities. In furthering arts education for ages 7 - adult, Melanie created an Arts Academy Program and personally oversees the nearly 20 local artists who deliver classes in acting, dance, chorus, visual arts, and private voice lessons. Wanting to reach underprivileged children and rural schools with the arts, Melanie created Paramount on Tour, taking productions on the road. Thanks to Melanie's vision, nearly 1,000 tri-state residents now call themselves Paramount Players and whether on-stage or backstage, there's a place in the community for everyone to shine.


2014 Honoree

Lisa Garza

Houston, TX

Lisa Garza


Lisa Garza (Houston, Texas - Houston Family Arts Center) is an example of that singular individual who combines major donor, talented director, playwright, set designer, Assistant Artistic Director, and accomplished costume designer. As a founding partner, she and her husband provided initial financial support to help start Houston Family Arts Center (HFAC) in 2005, then in 2006, she joined the board and has played an integral role ever since. Lisa and her husband have demonstrated extreme generosity by providing funding to the Garza Main Stage, Actors Academy, and Fischer Studio. These spaces have allowed HFAC to serve additional patrons, commission and present new works, expand the theatre's Actors Academy, which now serves over 1500 students per year, and provides a permanent home for both the HFAC Main Stage and Actors Academy productions. Lisa's inspiration as a donor, a volunteer, an artistic talent, and her generosity of spirit make her a community theatre dream come true. 


2014 Honoree

SCERA Center

for the Arts

Orem, UT

 SCERA Center for the Arts logo


SCERA Center for the Arts (Orem, Utah) is celebrating its 80th Anniversary. Since 1933, SCERA has produced wholesome and affordable arts and entertainment for patrons young and old and, and as they like to say, "Every time a curtain rises, so does the quality of our lives." Over the past eight decades, SCERA has grown to include the historic SCERA Center for the Arts; SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre; Orem Heritage Museum; SCERA Art Studios; a full scale costume, scenic and prop building; and dozens of arts education programs serving more than 18,000 youth and adults. Thousands have performed and fallen in love with theatre through their involvement at SCERA. While State Street is no longer a dirt road and the farms that once dotted the Orem landscape are few and far between, SCERA remains front and center - raising the curtain and the quality of life in Utah.

Previous Recipients  
1979  Norman Carver (Kalamazoo, MI)
1980  Douglas Cook (University Park, PA)
1981  Henry Fonda (Omaha, NE)
1982  David Gooder (Downers Grove, IL)
1983  Bea Miller (Memphis, TN)
1984  Alaska State Community Theatre
1985  National Multicultural Theatre Association
         of Canada 
1987  Twink Lynch (Topeka, KS)
1988  Kalamazoo Civic Players (MI)
1989  Charles Jones (Omaha, NE)
1990  Hiroshi Koizumi (Toyama City, Japan)
1991  Target Stores 
1992  Paul Ebert (Oak Ridge, TN)
1993  Jon Kerkhoff (Omaha, NE)
1994  Theatre Midland (TX)
1995  Sherwood Lohrey &
         Theatre Memphis (TN)

1996  Steve Spiegel & Music Theatre
         International (New York, NY) 

1997  William Talbot (New York, NY)
1998  Stage Directions Magazine
1999  David Young (Gainesville, FL)

2000  Charles Jeffers (Hickory, NC)
2001  Jim Sohre (US Army, Europe)
2002  Enid Holm (Odessa, TX)
         Harv Thompson (Madison, WI)
2003  Ohio Community Theatre Association
2004  Shirley Cockrell (Oneida, NY)
         Hap Ryder (Fairbanks, AK)
         Pat White (Amherst, NH)
2005  Jerry Zimmerman (Ft Jennings, OH)
2006  John Rich (Pullman, WA)
2007  Morrie Enders (Kalamazoo, MI)

2008  Jim Buckley (Cambria, CA)

2009  Bonnie Daniels (US Army)

         Andre Bruce Ward (Memphis, TN)

2010  Penelope Notter (Grand Rapids, MI)

2011  April Cochran (Paducah, KY)

         Ginny Morrison (Seville, OH)

2012  Dennis Assaf & Jefferson Performing

         ArtsSociety (Metairie, LA)

         Linda McClane (Fernandina Beach, FL)

2013 Anthony Del Rosso

        & Gwendolyn Whitney

        (SHAPE Perf. Arts Centre NATO Base)

        Carolyn Pitman (Whitefish, MT)         


Mort Clark International Achievement Award

Mort Clark International Achievement Award - Recognizes individuals and organizations for significant achievement in the promotion of excellence in international community theatre. (This award may be presented at an international event.)



2014 Honoree

Kathie Maldonado

Alto, NM

 Kathie Maldonado


Kathie Maldonado (Alto, New Mexico) has been a tireless advocate for international theatre; nurturing opportunities and creating connections with the international theatre community. She has made annual visits to the Region X (Overseas Military) festival in Germany, and enthusiastically performed logistical tasks large and small in support of the festival and its goals. Kathie has become increasingly involved as a liaison to the International Amateur Theatre Association (IATA) and has invested an unequalled amount of time and personal resources to represent the US with the IATA organization, frequently traveling to far flung locations to advise and plan events of mutual interest and benefit. She has been a strong advocate for reviving the North American Regional Association (NARA) of IATA and as its chair, has been striving to revitalize its mission and membership. Kathie has worked to stimulate Canadian and US participation and partnerships and has been a steady and visible presence for the US at diverse international festivals.  

Previous Recipients
2007  Hiroshi Koizumi (Japan)

2008  The Cellario Family (Monaco)

2009  Jim Sohre (Army Europe Command Entertainment)  

2013  Ross Rowland (Muncie, IN)

         John Viars & Des Moines Playhouse (Des Moines, IN)



Robert E. Gard Superior Volunteer Award

Presented to individuals over the age of 65 who have faithfully served community theatre on a non-paid basis for over 25 years.

2014 Honoree

Alvin Blasco

Streator, IL

 Alvin Blasco


Alvin Blasco (Streator, Illinois - Community Players of Streator) has been with the Community Players of Streator every single step from the beginning through its recently celebrated 57th anniversary. He served as the theatre's first business manager, helped as the very first show was produced at the local high school auditorium, and has continued to serve as a friend and mentor to many over the years. In June of 2010 the theatre was hit and destroyed by a tornado. Many on the board stared at the ruins and wondered where to even start. Alvin, in his calm voice of reason, shrugged his shoulders and said simply, "We built it once, we can do it again." That comment became their mantra and with Alvin's continued support, the group found itself in a stunning new facility in less than a year. Alvin has been described as "a forward thinker - with the best interests of the theatre at heart."


2014 Honoree

Ron McDaniel

Danville, IL

 Ronald McDaniel


Ron McDaniel (Danville, Illinois - Danville Light Opera Musical Theatre) is often at the top of the list when one thinks of "arts supporter." From his first role in 1961, to his latest DLO Musical Theatre performance in 2012, he has delighted in sharing his talents with his hometown. Ron has performed in 39 plays and musicals since 1961, assisted the local Vermilion County Museum by portraying Abraham Lincoln, and debuted the character of Rev. Enoch Kingsbury, a local citizen of importance. Behind the scenes, Ron has been a tireless volunteer: directing, producing, stage managing, and conducting workshops. Ron has also served on the Boards for Danville Light Opera, the Danville Area Arts Council, and the Theatre Advisory Panel for the Illinois Arts Council. He feels that theatre has played such an important role in his life, it is only right that he should use his talents to prolong, strengthen, and promote this strand of art in his community.


2014 Honoree

Barbara Tarlin

Wellesley, MA

Barbara Tarlin


Barbara Tarlin (Wellesley, Massachusetts - Wellesley Players) has dedicated 50 years of service to the Wellesley Players. She has served on the Board of Directors in positions including President, Program Director, Publicity Chairperson, Play Reading Chairperson, and Box Office Chair. Barbara has been a featured actress in countless Players' productions as well as those produced by surrounding community theatre organizations. Utilizing her advanced degree in directing from Boston University, Barbara has directed several shows and her strong dance background was utilized when Wellesley mounted their first musical, Mame, in 1969. Barbara began a tradition for the group, dubbed "Coffee House Capers." an annual social gathering showcasing individual talents of the membership. This tradition continues today and remains one of the highlights of the Wellesley Players calendar. Barbara's focus on Wellesley Children's Theatre in the mid 70s helped it grow, and she continues to epitomize team leader, team player, and lifetime member of the Wellesley Players.


Previous Recipients  
1982  L. K. Boutin (Des Moines, IA)
1983  Ruth Kenyon Tate 
         (North White Plains, NY)
1984  Emma & Alan Bowlsby 
         (Indianapolis, IN)
1985  Roberta Kendrick (Minneapolis, MN)
1987  Peggy Greene (Topeka, KS)
1988  Alice B. Rogers (Memphis, TN)
         Hilda Greenquist (Racine, WI)
1989  Mary Peckham (Omaha, NE)
         Lil Williams (Ardmore, OK)
1990  Dick Brown (Des Moines, IA)
1991  Mary Dwyer (Sheyboygan, WI)
1993  Firth Chew (Spokane, WA)
1994  John Edmands (Racine, WI)
1995  Ruth Cole (Midland, TX)

1996  Holley R. Webster (Wallingford, PA)
1997  Jean Mitchell (Grand Rapids, MI)
1998  Dottie Griffith (St. Joseph, MI)
1999  Betsey Reeder (Memphis, TN)
2000  Jane Margison (Riverside, CA)
         Robert Montgomery (Bremerton, WA)
2001  Heddie Kent (Concord, MA)

2002  Paul Sturner (Tonawanda, NY)
         Isabella Ward (Dover, DE)

2003  Charlotte Hall (Fort Thomas, KY)
         Fred Normand (Rome, NY)
2004  Tom Cowley (Ponca City, OK)
         Jo Pruden (Fort Shafter, HI)
2005  Hal Robinson (Royal Oak, MI)
         Sherman C. Ward, Jr. (Haddenfield, NJ)
2006  Marge and Ted Ressler (Dover, DE)
2007  Rosemary Green & Louise Carpenter
         (Ocala, FL)

2008  James N. Alexander, III (Haddon

         Heights, NJ)

         Peg Brandon (Winter Haven, FL)

         Henry Pope (Walla Walla, WA)

2009  Rae Cohan (Newport Beach, CA)

         Max Polley (Davidson, NC)

         Willa Wye Rockett (Belmont, MA)

2010  Arthur Delo, Jr. (Jersey City, NJ)

         Martha Kovacsi (Bay City, MI)

         Madge Levinson (Toldeo, OH)

2011  Geri Becker (Venice, FL)
         Wayne Pressnall (North Platte, NE)
         Bennett Wood (Memphis, TN)

2012  Don Mansfield (Jackson, MI)

         Judi Schweppe Johnson (Eugene, OR)

         Richard C. Whaley (Annapolis, MD)

2013  John Lynn (Mundelein, IL)
         Charla Rowe (Fort Washington, MD)
         Richard Sherwin (Tallahasee, FL)

Special Recognition Award

Presented to persons or organizations whose contributions to community theatre are far reaching and of a special nature.

2014 Honoree

Wil Breden

Wellesley, MA

 Wil Breden


Wil Breden (Wellesley, Massachusetts - Wellesley Players) is a veteran of the Wellesley Players for close to forty years, and is recognized as a tireless worker, brilliant musician, and a generous fellow. Wil is an engineer by trade and a Renaissance man in all other aspects and the Players are the lucky recipient of his largess. A composer and lyricist, he generously offers his talents. As a performer, he cheerfully volunteers to step in whenever we "need a man!" He does so with humility and professionalism. Wil is a set construction problem-solver, methodical and thorough in preparation and exacting in his work. He has secured building and storage space, and makes time to attend government meetings in order to keep the theatre's profile raised in the town. Wil Breden embodies all of the many qualities that compose a stellar community theatre member and does so with honesty, compassion, and dedication.


2014 Honoree

Twink Lynch

Topeka, KS

 Twink Lynch


Twink Lynch (Topeka, Kansas) devoted her life to community theatre and to serving as a mentor to both individuals and community theatres across the country. She helped shepherd the national organization's transition from American Community Theatre Association (ACTA) to AACT, served on the Board for six years, including a term as President and VP of Education and on AACT committees for an additional 19 years. Twink managed Topeka (KS) Civic Theatre for many years, retired, then came back during hard times and guided the theatre back to a stable organization. Her passion was such that she earned three degrees in theatre; it is said, she is the only person to earn a Ph.D. in Community Theatre Management. Twink shared her knowledge and experience through consulting and through her "Spotlight on Boards" column in AACT's newsletter, which she wrote for 14 years. In 2000, she edited her columns into a book, Boards in the Spotlight, the proceeds of which benefit AACT. Twink suffered a debilitating stroke in 2005, but her book and reprints of her articles still educate those who are managing and governing community theatres.


2014 Honoree

Kirk Players

Mundelein, IL

Kirk Players logo


Kirk Players (Mundelein, Illinois) was founded in 1966 and has a unique mission: to provide community service through the arts. Theatre profits are donated back to the community and since 1966 over $100,000 has been given to organizations as diverse as the public library and local food bank. Key to this concept is responsibility toward the community. The Kirk Players offer educational and technical service beyond its production schedule; work cooperatively with other community organizations to improve and enrich the cultural climate of the community; develop and serve audiences beyond their original clientele; and recognize the various potential in children, the aging, and the disadvantaged. The Players have no home or permanent facilities, choosing to reinvest their funds into programming and the community. Many theatres provide services to their community but for the Kirk Players that IS its purpose. This year the theatre lost its founder, John W. Lynn, and has rededicated itself to his vision of "service through the arts."

Previous Recipients  

1996  A. R. Gurney
1997  International Thespian Society
1998  Studio de Monaco - World Festival of
              Amateur Theatre
            Dundalk (Ireland) International 
              Maytime Festival
           Toyama (Japan) International Theatre
1999  Stephen Peithman (Davis, CA)
2000  Kurt Majkowski (Eau Claire, WI)

2001  1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery 
          (Fort Sill, Lawton, OK)
2002  Frank Peot (Sun Prairie, WI)


2003  Vilseck Bavarian Arts Guild 
         (Vilseck, Germany)
2004  Patty Duke (Northern ID)
2005  Kathie Maldonado (Hobbs, NM)
Angela L. Ardolino (Miami, FL)

2008  Victoria L. Hanrahan (Ansbach,


2009  Robert G. Anderson (Starkville, MS)

           John Kollack (Clarkesville, GA)

2010  Dan LaMorte (US Army, Europe)

2011  L. Ross Rowland (Muncie, IN)

2012  Merrie Dawkins (Rockingham, NC)

2013 Michael Fenlason (Tucson, AZ)
        Jan Mitchell (Menifee, KY)


Twink Lynch Organizational Achievement Award

Recognizes AACT member theatres for successfully completing major steps in new directions, expanding services to their community, or moving to the next level of organizational development.

2014 Honoree

Aviano Community


Aviano Air Base

Aviano, Italy

 Aviano Community Theater logo


Aviano Community Theater (Aviano Air Base - Aviano, Italy) took major steps this year in new directions, expanding services to the US and Italian communities it serves by enhancing their publicity efforts and partnering with local institutions to enrich the performance experience. ACT created a new Facebook page that links with the My Military Communities (MyMC2) smart phone application. ACT members film and interview performers and crew, releasing these as video clips linked to this year's new ACT YouTube channel. In addition to using social media to enhance ACT publicity efforts, it has partnered with the local medical facility and the Department of Defense Education Activity and the local DoDEA elementary, middle, and high schools to address relevant topics and provide expert information to their audiences and performers.  


2014 Honoree

Mesa Encore


Mesa, AZ

 Mesa Encore Theatre logo


Mesa Encore Theatre (Mesa, Arizona) was established in 1937 and is the longest operating community theatre in Arizona. Since becoming a Founding Resident Company of the highly acclaimed Mesa Arts Center in 2005, MET has flourished and grown into an award-winning, major force in live theatre offerings in the Phoenix area. In addition to a full season of shows, including some Arizona premieres, it raises funds to present at least one annual scholarship for college students in performing arts and serves as a cooperating theatre with Arizona State University's theatre department, working with undergraduate theatre majors as interns. 2013-2014 marked the inaugural season of MET's new Black Box season. In the 85-seat Black Box venue (separate from the Mesa Arts Center) they are able to present a variety of expanded and new theatre opportunities for artists and audiences. These include new works, the All-Puppet Players, small-cast plays, and the All-AZ Women's Theatre Festival.

2014 Honoree




Tupelo, MS

 Tupelo Community Theatre logo


Tupelo Community Theatre (Tupelo, Mississippi) was founded in 1969 with a mission to "stimulate, promote, teach, and develop interest in the dramatic arts." In 1985, TCT purchased the historic Lyric Theatre building in downtown Tupelo and has since raised slightly more than $2 million to maintain and improve the historic theatre. The board of directors became aware of the need to take the next step in strategic planning and set realistic and challenging goals related to its mission. One of the most challenging goals was to establish an alternative venue for smaller, less "commercially viable" productions not suitable for the regular five-show season. In November 2013, TCT opened "TCT Off Broadway" with SantaLand Diaries in a renovated retail space just blocks from the Lyric Theatre. Actors, directors, board members, and patrons are excited about this new opportunity for Tupelo Community Theatre to further its mission and serve its community.


Previous Recipients  
2003  Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy (KS)
         Quincy Community Theatre (IL)
2004  Albuquerque Little Theatre (NM)

2005  Bay City Players (MI)

2006  Chattanooga Theatre Centre

2007  Stuttgart Theatre Center, Germany

2008  SHAPE Performing Arts Center,  

         Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers

         Europe (Belgium)


2009  Venice Theatre (Venice, FL)

2010  Twin City Stage (Winston-Salem, NC)

2011  Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre,

         (North Dakota-Minnesota)
         Theatre Memphis (Memphis, TN)

2012  Amelia Community Theatre (Fernandina

           Beach, FL)

           FamilyArts Center (Houston, TX)

           Manatee Players (Bradenton, FL)

2013 Salina Community Theatre (Salina, KS)

Corporate Award

Presented to businesses and corporations for significant financial support of community theatre on a regional or national basis.


2011 Honoree

SC Johnson

Racine, WI

SC Johnson is a family-owned and managed business dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace, and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. SC Johnson has supported community artistic endeavors and growth through several avenues. A company sponsored volunteer network assists in volunteer recruitment. The SC Johnson "Dollars for Doers" program provides cash donations in return for volunteer hours, providing tangible rewards to Johnson employees and their organizations. The SC Johnson Fund has awarded matching grants that have been instrumental in theatres' growth. In its headquarters town, Racine, WI, SC Johnson partners with theatres for educational and children's theatre programs through its Golden Rondelle Theatre. The 125-year-old company, with more than $8 billion in sales, employs approximately 12,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. SC Johnson previously received AACT's Corporate Award in 1994 and is still committed to community support.

Previous Recipients  
1987  Southwestern Bell
1992  General Mills 
1993  Martin Marietta Energy Systems
1994  S.C. Johnson Wax

1995  Meadows Foundation
1996  Dan Castle & PCI Entertainment 

2001  Music Theatre International 

2008  Music Theatre International
         Target Stores

2009  Theatrical Rights Worldwide

2010  Manhattan Tour & Travel, Inc.


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