Outstanding Service Award

David C. Bryant Outstanding Service
Recognizes individual members of AACT for significant, valuable, and lasting service to community theatre

2017 Honoree
Joan Luther (Naples, New York)
Joan LutherJoan has been an important contributor to the Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS) since she took the adjudicator training in the early 2000s. Since that time, she has become one of TANYS’s very active and most requested adjudicators, averaging 20 adjudications a year. Joan was elected to the TANYS Board of Directors soon after becoming an adjudicator, eventually serving as president from 2008-2011. She is currently serving a second term as president, ending in 2017. Joan worked closely with the indomitable Ruth Legg to apply for and win the right to host AACTFest 2011 national festival. When Ruth suffered a stroke in 2011, Joan stepped in to fully chair the festival and fulfill TANYS’ commitment. Joan is a dynamic personality who succeeds in getting things done, all while maintaining a pleasant demeanor. Her direction as president will have a lasting impression on TANYS as all involved strive to live up to her expectations.

2017 Honoree
Jon Douglas Rake (Tacoma, Washington)
John RakeJohn has been the Region IX Rep since 2004. During his tenure, he has traveled throughout the Pacific Northwest to help states develop festivals and state associations. His efforts have enabled theatres within those states to benefit from AACT programs and services, and to form stronger theatre-to-theatre relationships. In 2009, Jon chaired the National AACTFest, co-hosted by his theatre, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, and the Washington Community Theatre Association. He and his team pioneered new ideas and set the bar high for future festivals. For many years, Jon has served AACT on the Festival Commission, Membership Committee, International Committee, and other related groups. He was elected an AACT Endowment Trustee in 2011 and currently serves as chair of the Trustees. Jon brings calm and steadfast leadership to his volunteer projects, laying a strong foundation for those who will follow after him.

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)
2007  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  Dennis Gilmore (Athens, TX)
2012  Paul Nelson (Olean, NY)
           Ron Paoletti* (US Army, Europe)
2013  Christi Thomas (Sidney, OH)
2014   Harriet Friedman (Waltham, MA)
           Dotti Peek* (New Palestine, IN)
2015   Victoria Hanrahan (Ansbach, Germany)
2015   Lou Vander Have (Grand Rapids, MI)
2016   Tom Cordingley (Helena, MT)
            Zada & Earl Jahnsen (Bulverde, TX)

          * Deceased

David C. Bryant

David C. BryantThe David C. Bryant Outstanding Service Award was established in 1978 to honor one of the original founders and the third President (1965-68) of ACTA (later AACT).  Dave was the Artistic Director of the Sheboygan (WI) Community Players from 1957 until his death in 1971.  Under his influence in Sheboygan, according to its 50th anniversary book, "more people were involved onstage, backstage and in the audience.  There was a marked liveliness to the theatrical fare.  Even the printed playbills of the period reflect creativity, individuality and a sense of panache."  Dave instituted the production of a musical every year and was instrumental in the design of their new thrust stage in order to provide "closer visual, auditory and emotional contact with the actors."  His influence in Sheboygan was so powerful that when a new Artistic Director joined the staff in 1981, 10 years after Dave's untimely death, "Dave was all I heard about, even though there were four Directors of Theatre between us."

Essentially a "let-us-never-forget-the-work-of-those-who-have-gone-before-us" award, it is given for "significant and valuable service to community theatre" on a local, regional or national level.  This service may be artistic, business or ethical in nature.  It may be for a local theatre or the field of community theatre in general, but it must be significant and have a lasting impact.


Authorize.Net Merchant - Click to Verify Credit Card Merchant Services