2017 TNT Recognition Awards

Awards to be presented at the Awards Ceremony, Saturday, March 18th, 2017 at the MCL Grand in Lewisville, Texas.

Ovation Award

Roberta Elliott

TNT is proud to present the Ovation Award, which is given to an individual who has maintained steadfast service, support or achieved some outstanding accomplishment in relation to work with Texas Nonprofit Theatres, to Roberta Elliott, Executive Director of Circle Arts Theatre in New Braunfels. Roberta Elliott began her association with TNT when Circle Arts Theatre participated in the Texas AACTFest in 1981. On the off years of contest, several youth companies were invited to attend the TNT Annual Conference to offer their shows. The Inner Circle, founded and directed by Roberta, was invited along with 3 other companies to attend several times in a row. Exposing the young people to the state conferences every other year inspired Circle Arts to establish the Texas Youthfest in New Braunfels. This proved more than one theatre could handle by itself, and TNT stepped in to help by creating the TNT Youth Conference that now happens every year.  Roberta has made sure to bring The Inner Circle to every conference for the past 21 years.  Youth in theatre is Roberta’s passion and she has done whatever she can to support the young people involved in all the companies that attend.  She has watched with pride as all the youth companies have grown in their skill and professionalism.  Roberta became a TNT Board member in 2014, working on different task forces, and lending support wherever she can. Recently she served with several other board members to create the TNT Young Leaders Council which gives young people a more active role in the organization.

     "Being part of TNT and enabling all youth to have a voice in theatre and in life is what keeps me rolling along." - Roberta Elliott

Spotlight Award

Dorothy Craver and Marcia Thomas

Dorothy Craver, with her daughter Marcia Thomas, founded The Jefferson Opera House Theatre Players in 1989 and later became its president. She served in that capacity for nearly 20 years before passing away in November 2016 at almost 105 years of age. Her enthusiasm, energy and support of the performing arts ‑ as well as the arts in general ‑ never abated and she was well known in all the Ark‑La‑Tex area for bringing attention to practically every arts organization over the years. For her life‑long love of and work for the arts in Jefferson, in Texas, in the United States and in the World, TNT is pleased to honor the memory of Dorothy Craver. Fittingly, TNT also celebrates the accomplishments of Marcia Thomas, whose passion for theatre and arts is clearly evident. Her abilities range from acting to directing, singing to writing, and she has even been known to raise much needed funds for the theatre. She performed a one woman show called Texian Woman, based on the story of Harriet Potter. Another local character Marcia brought to life was Diamond Bessie when she portrayed her in the play The Diamond Bessie Murder Trials. Marcia has served as vice president of the Opera House Theatre Players since its inception, and has managed to keep the group going not only by applying for grants, but by holding fundraisers like Monster Karaoke, Krazy Kostumes and Chocolate Sundae. Marcia found the time in her busy schedule to own and manage a bed and breakfast for the last 3 years called Miss Daisy's Cottage, in Jefferson, TX. TNT is honored to bestow the Spotlight Award, which celebrates the development and/or outstanding nurturing of theatre in Texas, to Dorothy Craver and Marcia Thomas.
        "It was delightful to read that my mother and I had been chosen for the Spotllght Award! I know my mother deserved such an award because of her undying enthusiasm for "all things show-biz"! She would be so pleased to know of this and I hope she is somehow knows." - Marcia Thomas

Steadfast Support Award

The MCL Grand hosted the TNT Quad II Festival and the AACT Region VI Festival produced by TNT in the center's first full year of operation in 2011, then took on the Quad II, the State and the TNT Youth Conferences in subsequent years. In each case, the staff of the MCL Grand went above and beyond, providing an exemplary experience for all involved. The beautiful facilities and the support shown by the City of Lewisville have made the MCL Grand a destination of choice for TNT, and it is with delight that TNT recognizes the MCL Grand with the Steadfast Service Award!

       "The relationship between Texas Nonprofit Theatres, Inc. and the MCL Grand has been mutually beneficial over the years and started the first month the facility was open to the public, January of 2011.  That month we were able to host the first of many theatre festivals presented by TNT, when we were the location for the QUAD II Festival of the AACT Fest.  TNT is the Texas organizer of the American Association of Community Theatres competition, held every two years. Jim Wear, who was the Arts Center Manager when MCL Grand opened, was able to attract this event to the new facility, due to a long time involvement with Texas Nonprofit Theatres, Inc.  That involvement had included service on the TNT board back in the late 1980's.
        "The MCL Grand continues this important relationship and applauds TNT for its contribution of development, training and resources to theatre groups. TNT is an important advocate for theatre arts in the state of Texas, and it is our privilege to be a part of its mission." - Melinda Camp, MCL Grand Arts Center Manager

Dynamite Award

Sheran Goodspeed Keyton

Sheran Goodspeed Keyton has given over two decades of her life to theatre in Texas.  She is an actress, singer, director, producer, writer, choreographer, costume designer, makeup artist, casting director, set designer, and so much more. She encompasses all that theatre is. As an Artistic Director of the theatre she founded in 2008, DVA Productions Inc, she not only produces quality theater productions, but also hosts fundraisers, does educational outreach, community outreach, coordinates volunteer work, gives a voice to writers and actors who dream of having their work on stage, and runs a youth mentoring program, DVA Young Artists. DVA Young Artists' is comprised of students from all and any income levels, but focuses on giving artistic opportunities to those from the lower end of the income spectrum who would not otherwise be able to afford quality theater education and quality artistic experiences.  Sheran Goodspeed Keyton is all that Texas Theatre is, should be, and aspires to be. For her untiring efforts, TNT is pleased to recognize Sheran with the Dynamite Award. .

        "I have been involved in professional theater in DFW for the past 24 years in some capacity or another. I began as an actor and singer, and moved on to choreographing, writing, directing, and even producing. I founded my own theater company (DVA Productions) in 2008, and consequently began a young artist mentor program. I partner with many private and community entities to create educational and entertaining shows. I became a member of TNT through my association with the Live Theater League of Tarrant County. It has been a reliable resource for my theater company and me as an artist. Most recently it has helped my young students to keep up with all of the shows currently running in the area. Most of them not only enjoy attending live theater, but also attend and receive class credit. Again, I am greatly honored to be receiving this award!" - Sheran Goodspeed Keyton

Corporate Arts Award

Starwood Retail Partners and the Shops at Willow Bend

Starwood Retail Partners and the Shops at Willow Bend are making 22,000 square feet available to North Texas Performing Arts - Plano Children's Theatre for their use in a prime location in the mall next to Dillard's, plus providing financial and inkind renovation support to help with the move from the theatre's current location. The space will be called Willow Bend Center for the Arts, opening June 1, 2017. It will feature two main stage theatres, two black box theatres, four large rehearsal rooms, individual practice rooms, a dance studio with raised dance floor, set and costume shops and executive offices. Through this unprecedented gift, NTPA-PCT will be able to double its service to the community while keeping their overhead costs at current levels.TNT is pleased to recognize this extraordinary partnership with the Corporate Arts Award for special service or assistance by a business or company for theatres in Texas.
         "On behalf of the entire team at The Shops at Willow Bend we are beyond thrilled to be adding the Willow Bend performing arts center to our retailer line-up this summer. They have been a staple in the community for 25 years and we are  proud that they have chosen to partner with us.  We pride ourselves on being a family friendly destination with events such as Summer Fun Thursdays and Breakfast with Santa and amenities such as our children's play area and complimentary strollers. By collaborating with the Willow Bend Performing Arts Center, our attraction to families will be even stronger for us both". - Amy Medford, CMD, Marketing Director

Front of House Award

Lori Magyar

The Front of House award was created to recognize an extraordinary volunteer or staff member who has contributed untold hours to a TNT member theatre. Lori Magyar more than fits that description, as attested to by her nomination from Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center. Her advocate wrote, "As one of a few non-staff house mangers, Lori has donated countless hours to the theater and the community KVPAC serves. Lori gives of herself, her time and even her personal items for this theater! Lori works as the house manager for our matinees. When she isn’t house managing you can find her in the audience house right laughing that uniquely Lori Laugh. One of our favorite “Lori Stories” happened just a few weeks ago. Lori was in the office, working on a grant (because she does that too!) and our stage manager called her because one child was having a sugar drop backstage and the other was throwing up in the lobby! This all took place about half an hour before the show was scheduled to start. The Production Stage Manager was unable to be at the theater that day, but we KNEW Lori would be on it. When Lori called back about twenty minutes later, the lobby was clean, the sick child had been sent home and the girl backstage had her situation sorted and was just about ready to go onstage. Lori called while sitting in the office getting back to the work she was doing. THIS is just Lori. She is steadfast; she sees a need and meets that need. Lori handles the jobs that need to be done, no matter how tired. This year we had the challenging opportunity to move our storage warehouse. We made this move THREE times. YES, Lori was there. Every part of the way she was there, organizing the stuff, boxing decades of the strange mysteries that live in theater storage. Up and down the ramp she went, with about twenty racks of costume. She even drove the moving truck!" TNT is please to recognize Lori Magyar for her service to theatre with the Front of House Award.
     ". . . why I volunteer with KVPAC:  Having spent the past decades traveling around the world for my career, I chose not to have children.  Volunteering at KVPAC for the past six years has allowed me to be involved with children 3 through 18. KVPAC supports them finding their light through sharing a love of the arts. The children leave KVPAC to spread their wings and return as adults to give back to our community.  KVPAC allows me to use my creative skills while occasionally bringing some business sense to the organization." - Lori Magyar

Front of House Award

Kate Robertson

HITS Theatre of Houston nominated Kate Robertson for Texas Nonprofit Theatres Front of House Award. For over 30 years, Kate tirelessly donated her time and talent. First becoming involved when her niece was a student, Kate volunteered as a costume assistant helping to create, fit, and repair wardrobe pieces for hundreds of students. Putting in long hours, both at the theatre and at home, her focus was on utilizing her skills to support the students as they stepped onto the HITS stage. Her engagement as a volunteer increased when her son enrolled at HITS and began to participate in classes and performances. Committed to HITS mission to inspire children through the power of theatre, Kate became a member of the HITS Board of Directors. One of the longest-standing members, over the years she has served as secretary, as president, and as a committee chair. Perhaps her most significant involvement has been as a committee member and chair of HITS' largest annual fundraiser, The American Girl Fashion Show. For the past 22 years, fashion show raised funds and awareness to support children's theatre programs. Nearly 30,000 young girls and their families have participated in the event, raising nearly $900,000 for HITS. Kate's involvement with this important fundraising effort was critical to its success and her hard work and efforts directly impacted the lives of the thousands of children who have participated in HITS classes over the years. For her tireless efforts, TNT is pleased to award Kate Robertson the Front of House Award.
        "It has been my honor and privilege to be a part of the HITS Theatre for the past 30 years.  My niece began taking classes at HITS in 1987 and I knew immediately that HITS was a very special place. HITS, a theatre where children and youth are the focus, absolutely brings out the best in young performers.  The production-based classes help kids build confidence and grow in skills that help them both on and off the stage. I’ve been behind the scenes, or in front of the house, for countless projects at HITS.  Over the years I’ve done everything from sewing on trim to chairing major fundraisers. I’ve vacuumed the floor before a performance and served as the president of the Board of Directors. No job is too small, or too big. I believe in HITS and its mission. I believe in the students, the staff, the volunteers, and my fellow board members. My seventeen-year-old son has literally grown up on the HITS stage. He considers HITS is second home, appearing in over thirty-two HITS productions. Because of his positive experiences with the amazing HITS staff, he plans to pursue a BFA in Acting. I volunteer at HITS first of all as a mom.  But, as my son has grown up, I have continued to attend as many shows with our youngest performers.  I’ll do any volunteer job for HITS, but my favorite role is that of audience member. I love cheering on the kids and watching them grow over the years.  I love seeing a child who was terribly shy when I first met them sing out and deliver lines with confidence on stage.  That is what inspires me as a volunteer. That is why I love HITS. Thank you for the honor of the Front of the House Award.  I am truly humbled to be honored for something that is just supporting the organization that I love." - Kate Robertson

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