Thursday, August 28, 2014

Elkhart Civic Theatre preparing for national competition

The Elkhart Civic Theatre is heading to a national competition organized by the American Association of Community Theatre.
Posted on April 27, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on April 27, 2013 at 12:27 p.m.

ELKHART — The Elkhart Civic Theatre will be among 12 community theaters competing on a national level for the first time in 10 years.

Elkhart Civic Theatre’s production of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” won six awards at the American Association of Community Theatre’s Region III Festival April 19-21 in Hartford, Wis. The group was honored for:

Ÿ Outstanding Production

Ÿ Outstanding Ensemble

Ÿ Outstanding Performance — Brent Graber and Tony Venable

Ÿ Outstanding Lighting Design — Randy Zonker

Ÿ Outstanding Costuming — Linda Wiesinger

Ÿ Backstage Crew Award — Sandy MacGowan

The national competition will be June 18-24 in Carmel. Also representing Region III will be the Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre with its production of “Cradle and All.”

John Shoup, artistic director for the ECT show, said the team feels ready, in great part because of feedback it received from the regional competition.

“They are very prepared, and they are very excited,” Shoup said. “The adjudicators at the regional level gave them some very positive feedback and some great critique, that they are going to make the show even stronger when they start rehearsals again.”

The cast included Graber, Venable, Kaitrin Higbee, Carl Wiesinger, Missey Domiano, Colin Rusel and Angie Berkshire. Dave Dufour directed the performance with assistance from Zonker.

MacGowan was stage manager and the crew included Zonker, Brian MacGowan, Pati Banik, Linda Wiesinger, Mark Swendsen and Garry Cobbum.

Prior to the regional festival, the ECT competed, and won, the state competition in Kokomo on March 24.

Aside from the Outstanding Production award, the ECT won awards for best director, best supporting performance, outstanding lighting design, outstanding sound design and the Jack Peek Memorial Backstage Techie Award at the state competition.

The production team had already started a fundraiser while preparing for the regional competition to help cover the costs of entrance fees and travel expenses.

They set up an account on, with a goal of $2,500. They still about $1,200 to meet that goal.

Though travel expenses for Carmel will not be much compared to those for Hartford, the entry fees for the national competition are considerably higher than the regional. The national festival runs for an entire week and, aside from the competition, it features workshops and other programs.

Shoup said he and the crew are grateful for the support they’ve received from the community while preparing for the state competition and during preparation for the regional festival.

“We want to thank everybody who helped us get to the regionals again for making it all possible for us. We really appreciate the community support,” he said.

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