Paul Nelson has been credited with being the best all around adjudicator in the Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS). He administers the TANYS Adjudication Program and has been adjudicating in New York State for over 16 years. He has served as a Responder for the Ohio, Delaware and Pennsylvania State Festivals and as adjudicator for the Region I and Region III festivals. He is a lifelong member of Alpha Psi Omega and has won multiple awards for his numerous theatre activities. Paul has been recognized by TANYS and the Eastern States Theatre Association (ESTA) for his work as an actor and director and by TANYS for outstanding contributions to non-professional theatre. He has served as TANYS president and as an ESTA board member. Paul earned theatre and education degrees from SUNY Geneseo. He is employed as a Mental Health Registered Nurse and is working on his Masters as an Adult Nurse Practitioner.
Ron Paoletti was a Soldier in the U.S. Army, 1972-74, then created a successful career as a civilian, eventually as Recreation Specialist in Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Hanau, Schwetzingen, and Heidelberg, Germany; most recently as Army Community Recreation Officer in Stuttgart. He was widely admired for excellence at his "day job," he is most lauded for devoting himself tirelessly to his passion, theatre. Ron amassed an enviable number of volunteer achievements. He starred in The Goodbye Girl in Heidelberg in 1996, and helped re-vitalize Roadside Theater and was instrumental in helping renovate its facility. He performed in, directed, and supported dozens of SRO shows. Among many honors, he earned the Topper Award as Best Director for Dancing at Lughnasa and an All-Army Arts Festival nod as star of Man of La Mancha. Ron's boundless enthusiasm, energy and talent have made Roadside Theater and Stuttgart Theatre Center into the acclaimed programs they are today. (Ron's award was presented posthumously to his wife in Germany in April.)
Under Dennis G. Assaf's artistic vision and community leadership, the Jefferson Performing Arts Society (JPAS) was born in 1978. In the ensuing years, Maestro Assaf has created educational outreach programs for children and adults in music, dance, and community theatre. He serves as the Executive/Artistic Director and Conductor. In 1989 the JPAS "Theatre Wing" was launched with an amazing production of West Side Story. Over the next 20+ years JPAS expanded its theatrical offerings to include four summer musical intensive camps in two different theatres simultaneously, currently serving over 450 kids in grades 3-7 and 8-12. In 2004 JPAS grew again with the "Theatre Kids!" program, which offers two full musical theatre productions annually. Typically 150 children are cast into two groups of 75 to afford as many children as possible the opportunity for self-expression. In 2007 the Theatre for Young Audiences was created and serves as JPAS' community theatre touring component in five South Louisiana parishes and Mississippi. He has received many varied awards and has dedicated these last 34 years to pursuing the dream of a new performing arts center for Jefferson Parish. He secured a $15 million pledge from the state of Louisiana. The center in now under construction.
Linda McClane is a charter member of Amelia Community Theatre, which was founded in 1981 in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Initially, she worked in publicity and as an actor with the Peppermint Players, an adult troupe that performs in county elementary schools. Over the years, she has served in all areas of production including tech, stage manager, producer, actor, and director, and she runs the summer camp program. She is on the Board of Directors and is a past president. Linda became Managing Director of the theatre in 1998. In 2010, Amelia Community Theatre built a new theatre, and at that time, Linda's position, which also includes artistic director and box office duties, became a paid one. Linda has received her theatre's Volunteer of the Year award and her city's Volunteer of the Year Award for arts enrichment. She and husband John McClane have two grown sons.
Mort Clark International Achievement Award
Don Mansfield became interested in theatre in grade school. After graduate school, he moved to Jackson, Michigan to join Consumers Power Co. There he returned to acting with the "Presby Players" at the First Presbyterian Church and he joined Center Stage Jackson (CSJ). He was elected to the CSJ board in 2005, and proposed the formation of a youth program as there was no such program in Jackson County. Don was appointed chair of the Youth Theatre Committee. The program annually produces a play and a musical, partnering with the Presbyterian Church and the Jackson Public Schools. Don routinely handles publicity, box office, and program production, plus other duties, including directing, producing, and seeking grants. The CSJ board credits the Youth Theatre program with expanded family participation, increased membership in and awareness of CSJ, contributing to the financial stability of CSJ, and transitioning participants to main stage productions. Don is 82 years old.
Judi Schweppe Johnson began her association with the Very Little Theatre (VLT) in Eugene, Oregon in 1949 at age 12 when she played Little Mary in Ten Nights in a Barroom. She acted until she left Eugene in 1955. Returning in 1966 as a single mother of four, she quickly become part of VLT's hard working core of volunteers. She served as an actor, director, and board member, including president in 1976-77. Judi worked in numerous capacities backstage: furnishings, props, set painting, stage managing, house operations, and 17 years as box office manager. She brought skills from her professional life, as Operations Manager at the University of Oregon Bookstore for 32 years, to her box office work. Under her direction VLT's box office consistently ran in a very efficient manner. Now retired, Judi still works in the box office, enjoys the VLT family, and is proud of VLT's 83 year history!
Richard C. Whaley has been a member of the Colonial Players of Annapolis, MD for 61 years. It began in 1951 when he, employed as an oceanographer, and his bride, Beth, settled in Annapolis. Beth immediately found the Players. As a dutiful new husband, Richard volunteered to help. In 1954 the Players bought an old building and Richard helped convert it into a theatre. He also worked on later renovations and expansions of the building. Over the years he has served on the board, including as president, and on long range planning, and maintenance and improvement committees. He ushers and has worked in the box office from hand written tickets to the now computerized system. His largest contribution, especially since he retired, is as lead carpenter. He handles construction for every production - eight or nine a year. He excels in creating clever and safe ways to make the designers' and directors' visions work.
Merrie Dawkins knew from the age of four that she loved the theatre. When she returned to Hamlet, NC after studying theatre in college, she was delighted to find a community theatre in the area. Merrie has volunteered at Richmond Community Theatre (RCT) for 31 years. She has been a board member (including president), actor, technician, backstage crew, children's theatre organizer, and financial contributor. She does whatever needs to be done. RCT almost closed when its founding director retired. Merrie and others worked with the city of Rockingham to find a new director, and to figure out how to keep things going. It was a point of community pride; so many industries and businesses had closed, but the 4th oldest community theatre in the state remained. Essentially Merrie is always willing to support what is best for the community and the theatre as a whole. It's not about her. It's about the community. It's about the theatre.
Amelia Community Theatre (ACT) was founded in 1981 with 80 charter members contributing $10 each to fund the first production. Shows were held at the high school and other available halls. In 1988, ACT purchased a building and converted the space into a theatre that seated 88. ACT was proud of its shows and complex sets, and its audiences liked the intimate setting, but the small space also had limitations. In 2005, debt free and financially secure, the all-volunteer theatre began a capital campaign to raise funds to build a new theatre on land it owned adjacent to the small theatre. In 2010, now with one employee and a mortgage, ACT opened the doors to a theatre that seats 160 with a rousing production of The Pirates of Penzance. Volunteer and audience numbers increased. ACT added online ticketing in 2011. Its community is proud of its theatre!
Houston Family Arts Center (HFAC) was founded in 2005, and has rapidly made an impact. In 2010, it opened the Garza Main Stage Theatre, serving the 750,000+ people in the Cypress, Texas area. It now has a 9500 square foot facility with two performance venues, four dance studios, and other spaces. From its inception HFAC conducted summer performance camps. It has expanded to an Actors Academy for all ages with a managing director. HFAC collaborates with other theatres, including co-producing and loaning set pieces and costumes. HFAC recognizes the importance of new works, opening the Garza Main Stage Theatre with a world premiere, and commissioning a piece by a NY playwright. It held a reading of Kissless by Chance McClain, who then asked HFAC to cast and produce the show for the 2011 New York Musical Theater Festival. HFAC has helped raise $15,968 for other charities. In 2011, HFAC produced 23 shows with 544 actors for 18,444 patrons.
Manatee Players was formed In late 1947 as part of the Women's Club, eventually growing into its own facility in 1953 where four shows were showcased annually. In the past 10 years, Manatee Players has grown to produce eight main stage musicals and two fully produced youth theatre musicals, annually enjoying 95% capacity attendance. These productions have been recognized with multiple awards by the Florida Theatre Conference, the Southeastern Theatre Conference, and AACT. Manatee Players has reached out to the local community by providing in-school touring productions dealing with topics of social importance, arts integrated teacher curriculum assistance, on the job training for mentally challenged, Teatro Latino (plays performed in Spanish with English sur-titles), new play premieres, and a newly formed senior theatre troupe. Manatee Players is in the final stage of a $15 million new state-of-the-art facility slated to open in January 2013.
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.