Mort Clark Award
(This award may be presented at an international event)
Murray and Lori Chase (Venice, Florida) have been leading the charge for international theatre festivals in the United States under the AACT banner for the past 12 years. In 2010, the AACT international festival, aactWorldFest, found a home in Venice, Florida, under the steady hands and strong leadership. In addition to their work with aactWorldFest, they travel to theatre festivals around the world, meeting new theatre artists, making new theatre friends and inviting them to Venice to perform for American audiences. With their vision and dedication, aactWorldFest has become a desired international theatre festival for theatre troupes. This award recognizes the past work they have accomplished promoting international theatre to AACT American audiences and acknowledges the future, as aactWorldFest will return to Venice in 2020 and 2022. AACT thanks Murray and Lori for all their time, hard work, and dedication to the important cause of international friendship and cooperation. Theatre can truly bring our whole world together.
2018 Frank Peot (Sun Prairie, Wisconsin)
This award is named in honor of Mort Clark, who began a 30-year career teaching Theatre and Speech at Westchester Community College in 1966. He served as department chair for a number of years and was instrumental in the design of the new theater in the Academic Arts Building. But he is perhaps best remembered for establishing an annual International Theatre Festival, which brought community theatre groups from all over the world to the Valhalla campus for a week of non-stop dramatic performances.
He served as president of the American Community Theatre Association (AACT's predecessor) and later served many years on the AACT Board as the Region II Rep. He was always there to greet new board members and make them feel welcome. He was honored by AACT with the David C. Bryant Outstanding Service Award, the Art Cole Award, and designation as an AACT Fellow. He adjudicated festivals throughout the country.
His passion for community theatre took him all over the world and earned him scores of awards, honorary titles and degrees too numerous to mention. He was a familiar presence at AACT meetings, festivals and conventions for many years. In 1993 Mort traveled to Monaco to be knighted by Princess Caroline on behalf of her father, prince Rainier. He was awarded the Chevalier Medal of Culture at Monaco's Princess Grace Theatre, and was thereafter entitled to be addressed as “Sir Mortimer”--an honor that delighted him thoroughly. Mort retired from Westchester Community College in 1997, and that year he made over 40 trips to teach and work with theatre groups around the world. He continued to travel and work until his death in 2007 at age 78.